Steve Golob has been a chef at Vanier Hall at the University of British Columbia for 15 years and is passionate about local, fresh, healthy food. Vanier Hall serves over 2500 students per day, plus staff and faculty. When a student spends, on average, $5.90 for one of Steve’s meals, they’re in for a treat! With a local food procurement strategy in place, Vanier Hall serves the freshest, healthiest and most delicious local food available, including fresh fruits and vegetables, local pork and poultry, and Ocean Wise certified seafood.

 Students’ Favourite Menu Items from Vanier Hall:

  • Local Fresh Roasted Vegetable Soup
  • Roasted Fennel Tomato Sauce with Multigrain Pasta
  • Wild B.C. Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • Wild B.C. Grilled Salmon with fresh B.C. flat leaf parsley, B.C. white wine and lemon
  • Cream of Cinderella Pumpkin Soup
  • Roasted Chicken with local, fresh rosemary olive oil and fresh local basil
  • Potato, Swiss Chard, and White Bean Soup
  • Tomato, Local Zucchini and Spinach Soup
  • Fresh Salmon Chowder
  • Grilled Chicken Breast with B.C. red wine sauce and wild B.C. mushrooms
  • Stir Fry with local green and yellow beans, oyster mushrooms, garlic, ginger, and local tofu
  • Smoked Tofu with roasted B.C. nugget potatoes and Swiss chard


How local can you go? Try the UBC Farm on Campus!

Five years ago, Steve began purchasing produce from UBC’s on-campus farm. According to Steve, “It would be criminal for a chef not to use the best produce available!” In this case, the best comes from UBC Farm, sent to him once a week for use in Vanier Hall’s specialty dishes. Between August and November 2011, Vanier spent $4,300 on foods from UBC Farm – an increase of 73% from the previous year. However, UBC Farm is primarily a research centre, and therefore does not always have produce available. When Steve looks elsewhere for produce, his priorities are “fresh, local, and if possible, organic”.

UBC Food Services, on the whole, spends 50% of its total procurement budget on locally raised or processed foods – within 150 miles of campus – and $300,000 on organic produce. Regular purchases include wild salmon, nugget potatoes, beets, Chilliwack honey vinegars, seven varieties of organic apples, and BC wines. Most local and organic produce are distributed by Discovery Organics in Vancouver, or Steve picks them up personally at the local farmers market.

More than Food Preparation: A Vision for Farm to Cafeteria at Vanier Hall

Through the provision of delicious local food, Steve hopes to show the student population that local fresh produce is better than highly processed fast foods. As Steve says, “Food is grown on a farm – not on a shelf!” Fresh local foods not only taste better, but have health benefits that far out-weigh the cost. In addition, Steve aims to expand food literacy in the student population through cooking demonstrations, presentations, and possibly a future cookbook. Steve’s energy and excitement for local food is contagious, and UBC students are taking advantage of the opportunity to learn how to cook their favourite recipes at home!

Growing Forward

Steve’s vision for Farm to Cafeteria extends beyond the walls of Vanier Hall. He sees Farm to Cafeteria as an avenue to fight hunger in the classroom, to prevent diabetes in youth and to improve the health of our students. He encourages other chefs and cooks to join the program, but recognizes that there are challenges to be overcome.  According to Steve, consistent financial support from all levels of government is required to ensure all schools have the equipment, training, and space needed to prepare proper meals. To overcome these barriers, Steve stresses the need for ‘internal champions’ to advocate for support, commitment and guidance from governments and institutions alike. He would know – he is the perfect example of what this type of advocate can accomplish!


Steve Golob
Chef, Vanier Place Residence, UBC

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