The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Chef Liz King: Cooking, Baking for the Brothers of Beta Theta Pi for 18 Years

Printed with permission of Liz King

The transition to college can initially make it difficult for students to feel at home, since they are no longer surrounded by their families and have to navigate a new place. At college, the familiar sense of home looks different. One person who brings a greater sense of home to the Colgate University Beta Theta Pi (Beta) house is chef Liz King, who has served in her role for 18 years.

King began her time as a chef working only part-time, but she soon became a full-time chef. Now, King cooks for 40-60 members five days a week. She has an especially unique career path that led her to her current profession. Before being a chef, King was a preschool teacher in the Sherburne-Earlville Central School District in Upstate New York.

King explained how she went from being a preschool teacher to a full-time chef at a fraternity house. 

“A couple who had their son at the preschool asked me if I would be able to help out at the fraternity,” King said. “I ended up working here part-time for a year helping out under another cook.” 

King spoke about how she was offered the opportunity to continue her work as a chef and began to learn how to tackle the more challenging aspects of the job.

“That next summer I got a phone call asking me if I wanted to take over for the previous chef who had other prior restaurant commitments […]. I had never done anything on that scale, so I knew there was going to be a learning curve, especially scheduling the ordering and meal plans,” King said. “I started working that fall and have been here ever since.” 

King explained that on a typical day, she starts at 8 a.m. and leaves around 5:30 p.m. Throughout the day, she offers several food options for the fraternity members.

“Whatever the guys want for breakfast and lunch, they ask me and I make it. For dinner, everyone eats as a family,” King said.

King shared that the time and effort required to cook for a large group of people varies, depending on the year. Throughout her years of experience, she has learned the importance of prepping and being efficient. 

“Anytime I have downtime, I usually begin prepping for dinner, since it takes a while,” King said. “It all comes down to time management. I like to be organized and know ahead of time what I’m cooking, but some days it’s easier to just make an easy meal.”

For King, working at Beta is not just about the cooking. Having conversations with the students and getting to know them is just as important as getting food on the table.

“What makes my day go by quicker is when the kids care about you and you care about them. It makes it more like a family and homey,” King said.

This sense of home that King described floods through the kitchen throughout the week.

“Wednesdays are brownie days. I make them every Wednesday, and then I’ll make different types of cookies on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays,” King said.

Sophomore Cole Evans shed light on King’s positive influence on the house. 

“[King] is absolutely amazing. She loves to tell us stories and always tries to make us laugh,” Evans said. “We all love it when she makes her famous ‘Liz Brownies’ on Wednesdays.” 

Sophomore Sam Fox-Wiviott shared similar feelings about King’s long-lasting impact.

“[King’s] impact on the house extends far past cooking for us. Seeing her in the dining room and talking with her in the kitchen are incredibly beneficial for [students in] the house. Cracking jokes, getting advice and hearing her stories are [things] that will stick with me far past my time at Beta,” Fox-Wiviott said.

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