Ramsay and Pepin have toured True Grit's Dining Hall and have expressed immense pleasure at the opportunity to cook within it, citing the hall's state-of-the-art cookware and cleanliness standards. Photo by Kristina Soetje.
Fine ingredients, global cuisine, and a taste for perfection are everyday phenomena for world-renowned chefs Gordon Ramsay and Jacques Pépin.
Ramsay, born in Scotland, began his career training alongside many top-notch chefs around Europe and eventually focused his talents towards opening and becoming the head chef of his debut restaurant in London: Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.
Pépin, born in raised in the heart of France, discovered his love for cooking in his parent’s restaurant: Le Pelican. As his career grew, he cooked with renowned chef Julia Child and the duo hosted their own cooking show for many years on PBS.
It would seem that these two internationally recognized chefs would want to continue their successful careers and keep themselves in the bubble of high class, gourmet food and the people that come with it. However, a new era for these gourmet chefs and their love for cooking has begun. UMBC’s True Grit’s Dining Hall will be changed forever when the two legendary chefs of cuisine take over as head chefs in Fall 2018 for the next thirty years.
Pépin will entice UMBC students with tastes of the French Riviera using meals such as Coquilles Saint-Jacques, authentic crêpes, and soupe à l’oignon with fresh, organic ingredients pulled straight from the ground. Ramsay will bring tastes of London with gourmet courses of steak, pot pies, and salads.
However, not all UMBC student are excited with the change. Many are outraged that traditional dining hall meals like mac n’ cheese and chicken tenders won’t be served as authentically as they have been for so many years.
“I don’t want gourmet, hoity-toity French food! The dining hall keeps our food simple and plain,” says Braney Batter, a sophomore dance major. “I don’t care how fancy they are, no other chef can make tendies like D-Hall.”
Student organizations all over campus are protesting the radical change in food quality and leadership. A “Save our Tendies” rally is planned for next Friday, where students of all ages, ethnicities, and majors will march as one student body from the Retriever Activities Center (RAC) down the hill to True Grit’s Dining Hall, making a stand for their food.
“We cannot let these greedy, rich, white men ruin our food quality,” says Ted Stirrup, a junior political science major. “We cannot have our dining hall tainted with fresh ingredients and gourmet dishes that aren’t made from a ready-made microwavable bag. We have a right to eat mushy carrots and uncooked rice!”
Emotions are high as the spring semester progresses and questions are being asked of UMBC food and dining services about whether bringing Pépin and Ramsay into True Grit’s would be a good idea.
True Grit’s approval rating has hit an all time high, with 98.9 percent of students pressing the green happy face button on their way out of the dining hall.
“Having D-Hall is a blessing,” says Yerin Feratreat, a freshman chemical engineering major. “I can eat better here than I ever did at home. My mom’s cooking is nothing compared to this!”
In order to make the best decision for the UMBC community, UMBC food and dining services plan to spend several months deciding whether to bring world-famous, renowned chefs of cuisine Jacques Pépin and Gordon Ramsay into True Grit’s Dining Hall. It’s a tough call.