Randolph's Top Chef

Dave Wasson's recipe for success includes creativity and passion.

When it comes to food, Dave Wasson has a simple philosophy: “food is love.”

That statement guides Wasson, Randolph College’s executive chef since 2008, at home and at work.

He and his wife, Emily, fell in love cooking meals together while they were dating. And he brings his “food is love” philosophy to work with him every day.

“This mantra guides what we do here in a way that is easy to see,” Wasson said. “My team and I all work hard to produce food that will make people happy. The point is to let people feel the love that went into making the dish.”

Wasson is employed by Aramark, the dining services company contracted by Randolph.

He tries to have something on the menu for everyone. However, due to allergies and other special diets and preferences, satisfying Randolph’s community of students, faculty, and staff is not always an easy task. Wasson allows his staff to be creative and improvise.

That personal attention is one of the things Wasson enjoys most about his job.

“This is a small community that really lends itself to getting to know everyone,” he said. “It is great to be a part of that, and I really enjoy when I can call someone by their name and say, ‘Hello.’”

Mitch Rodhe, Randolph’s food service director, said Wasson’s ingenuity adds to what the College can offer its community members. “He is continually looking for innovative ideas that allow him to showcase his creativity while also addressing the appetites of our students,” he said.

A Connecticut native who was raised in New York and Virginia, Wasson briefly considered engineering as a career but ultimately chose his true passion. “I’ve been in the kitchen cooking since I could see over the stove,” he said.

Wasson is always looking for ways to expand his knowledge. He recently completed the Culinary Institute of America’s ProChef Level I certification. And this past winter, he spent three days as guest chef at Eastern Kentucky University.

Wasson’s energy is apparent as he zips around Randolph’s dining hall, usually with a large mug of coffee in hand. He can often be found helping prepare food, checking on his staff in the serving areas, or just talking with students.

“It’s a great day when everybody’s smiling, and everything goes off without a hitch,” he said.