California Baptist University’s dining facility Brisco’s Village Cafe brought in celebrity chef Jet Tila to revamp its menu, creating a new pan-Asian fusion called Wok On.
At 11 a.m. on Sept. 8., Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, CBU president, and Tila cut the ribbon together to commemorate the grand opening of the new cuisine. Dr. Mark Wyatt, vice president of marketing and communication, and Rodney Couch, the founder and president of Preferred Hospitality, were also present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Kipp Dougherty, CBU director of food services, met Tila at a National Association of College and University Food Services conference.
“I had already had my mind set on doing an Asian concept but knew that wasn’t really in our wheelhouse,” Dougherty said. “I saw Jet doing a demo, loved his energy and loved what he was doing. We hit it off immediately.”
Tila and Dougherty collaborated to make the concept a reality as Wok On. Tila wanted to make Wok On a healthy alternative to other Asian fast food.
“Most college students know that quick-service Asian restaurants are not the most healthy restaurants in the world, but we wanted to make something that was conscious and healthy,” Tila said.
A variety of Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese dishes are offered at Wok On. There will also be celiac-friendly and gluten-free options, as well as vegan options. Tila said he wanted to include grilled, steamed and braised food to offer more cooking style options.
“We wanted to do something that was innovative and on the healthy side,” Tila said.
Ellis enjoyed a Wok On meal after the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“It’s delicious. It just adds to the options we have,” Ellis said. “With this Wok On, we’ll have it fresh, made-to-order and it’s going to be great.”
Many students starting class have tasted the new Asian fusion dishes, showing their support for the added diversity in food.
“I love Asian culture food so it’s amazing,” said Alex Dunn, senior nursing major. “Being a commuter, having it at Brisco’s is a lot better because I can get access to it pretty easily. It’s amazing, and I love it. Add a little Sriracha, and life is good.“
Tila has worked with more than 20 colleges, the most recent being University of Notre Dame. He has also appeared on multiple cooking shows such as “Cutthroat Kitchen,” “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and “Iron Chef America.”