Ever since Douglas Medeiros was a child, he enjoyed making people happy with his cooking. Now better known at Kramer Dining Center as “Chef Doug,” the 29-year-old has been showing his passion to hungry students as the dining center’s executive chef.
Medeiros said his love for cooking started from helping his parents in the kitchen, watching celebrity chefs on TV and wanting to be like them.
“My parents would go to work during the summer, they’d come home, and I’d cook something,” Medeiros said. “I always enjoyed making food and making people happy.“
Medeiros started working for a pizza shop when he was 15, and his professional cooking career took off from there. Medeiros attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, where he received his bachelor’s degree in hospitality and restaurant management.
After that, he had multiple jobs in the cooking industry. Medeiros said he was led to Kansas State when his wife got into veterinary school. After a stint at Radina’s Bakehouse, he joined Kramer Dining Center as a recipe and development chef, and he is now the dining center’s executive chef.
Missy Schrader, unit director at Kramer, said Medeiros was instrumental in the opening of the dining center after its recent renovations.
“When we opened the building, we relied heavily on him to help us learn the new equipment that was brand new,” Schrader said. “Without him, opening the building would have been very difficult.”
Schrader said the use of vegetables is one of the biggest things she’s learned from Medeiros, such as how to feature them as the center of a plate item and how to prepare them in unique ways.
Schrader said Medeiros is very passionate about his work and very supportive of others in the workplace.
“[He is] always willing to do whatever is needed as far as covering shifts,” Schrader said. “He is just a really good team member.”
For Chelsea Paul, graduate student in hospitality management, working with Medeiros has been extremely helpful.
“Every day we work together, he tells me something new about management and how to lead and manage people,” Paul said.
Paul said one aspect of Medeiros’ personality that sticks out is his ability to crack jokes and make the working atmosphere light and fun. Even while getting the job done, Paul said, Medeiros doesn’t take things too seriously, which makes him good to work with.
Medeiros said he has considered moving into administration and doing food and beverage management, but being a chef is where he wants to be. Medeiros also said he has dreams of spreading his passion to the next generation.
“My friend talked about opening a cooking school for underprivileged kids,” Medeiros said. “I would love to support him in that dream and be able to help teach kids how to cook.”
Medeiros encouraged students interested in the food industry to get a job at a restaurant and see how they like it. He said loving your job is key to a happy life.
“You’ve got to love what you do,” Medeiros said. “You have to enjoy and have a passion for it. You’re better off being happy and enjoying what you’re doing.”