By OLYMPIA JARRELL
This year, the University Center is seeing some real changes with the new executive Chef, William Allison. After working in places ranging from Hawaii, to California to other locations in Virginia, Chef Allison was recently hired as the new executive chef for the University Center’s Dining Hall.
Allison’s career began at an early age. At 12 years old, Allison worked washing potatoes and making soups at a local steakhouse in his hometown of Shelbyville, Tennessee. He continued his work in the kitchen through High School. He spent his free time watching Emeril Lagasse and Julia Childs.
However, Chef Allison credits most of his culinary skills to his mother, “you could say I inherited my culinary skills and service oriented ‘way of life’ from my mother, Pamela Jean Cannon,” Allison said. “[She] was a great cook and worked at various restaurants part time while she also held a career as a professional seamstress.”
“Being a professional chef just completes the service trilogy I try to sustain every day…being a husband and a father round out my beliefs,” Allison said.
Balancing his schedule is not always easy but Allison has dedicated to remaining committed to all aspects of his service trilogy.
“Now there are days where the trilogy becomes imbalanced by missing birthdays and holidays, yet I am bound to a life of service and sustaining it through the various hospitality platforms I have interacted with throughout my life, has been well worth the imbalances,” Allison said, explaining some of the hardships that come with such an intense position.
After High School, Chef Allison joined the Marine Corps. There he held the military occupational specialty of a Food Service Specialist.
“This just extended my ideological and philosophical belief in providing service to my family and my country through being a Marine, while continuing to hone my skills as a cook,” Allison said.
Allison has also won many awards such as, “Enlisted Aide of the Year,” at an Appreciation for Military Chef’s Gala Dinner at the Ritz Carlton.
Many feel that Chef William Allison, with his extensive background and dedication, is a great addition to the University of Mary Washington and Chef Allison is excited to be at UMW too.
“The opportunity to provide a service to future generations through the culinary platform I have sustained my entire life, while interacting with the staff and the students of one of the best Universities in the northern Virginia region,” said Chef Allison.
Allison concluded describing his experience so far while working at the University Center, “It’s an incredibly amazing experience,” said Allison. “To see the students, dine and enjoy all of the various points of service at the Top of the University Center is worth the sacrifice of long hours of resident dining and catering menu planning, production and sustained service.”