This article originally appeared in the Williamsburg Magazine.
After obtaining his culinary arts degree, Stephen Losee yearned to learn more.
So he bought a one-way ticket to London.
Losee ended up staying for 10 years – learning from European chefs, experiencing different cultures and foods, cooking at high-end hotels and honing his culinary skills.
Now, as campus executive chef at The College of William and Mary, Losee still lives by that same desire to do more.
“We want to bring campus dining to the next level,” Losee said.
Losee, 38, started at William and Mary in 2014, but he’s no stranger to directing dining for thousands of people. Losee oversaw, as executive chef, several schools throughout England, Wales and Ireland. More recently, he served as Regional Executive Chef at Sentara Health System.
At William and Mary, “We do 10,000 meals a day here,” Losee said.
There’s breakfast, lunch, dinner at the dining halls, of course. But dining services encompass everything from catered events to concessions to franchise restaurants on campus.
Losee wants to break beyond the conceptions of college dining hall food.
It’s about “providing food that is innovative,” Losee said, “and like what you’d have in a restaurant” – but for thousands of people.
“We want to be the trendsetters with campus dining,” he said.
That involves introducing new food ideas and concepts. Take Chancellor’s Bistro, an on-site, full-service restaurant for students, and a concept found on few campuses.
But Losee said it’s also about initiatives like utilizing local suppliers and getting involved with the community.
In November, Losee led a culinary team from William and Mary Dining Services in the local March of Dimes Signature Chef Auction. They took away three awards at the charity event: Dish of the Colonial Peninsula, Most Oustanding Presentation and Best Taste.
Trendsetting also involves training methods, and giving cooks something to work toward, Losee said.
In October, William and Mary Dining Services enacted an apprenticeship program – the largest hybrid corporate program in the country – through the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation. Around 40 cooks are working towards certification through the three-year program.
Losee remembers working in a Greek restaurant at age 15 under a dedicated chef. He saw what hard work could accomplish.
Today, as head chef, he’s constantly on the move.
“No two days are the same,” Losee said. “I love the diversity of it.”
And it’s not just about food – “but leading people and having a vision,” Losee said, “being able to plan and organize and see it come out successful.”