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 Sue Blinebry: Cooking With Love at Phi Delta Theta

Printed with permission of Sue Blinebry

Many students at Colgate University are familiar with the various staff and faculty members who work at the school and are integral to the community. Whether it be their professors or custodians in their dorm, students get to know many Colgate employees. Students who choose to join Greek life organizations are able to meet some of the most dedicated and kind people at Colgate: the fraternity and sorority chefs. Sue Blinebry, the chef at Phi Delta Theta (Phi Delt), explained how she ended up in her current position and shared that her interest in cooking began at a young age. 

“I’ve always worked in the food industry,” Blinebry said. “I guess it all started with my mom; she was an excellent cook.”

After graduating from the University of Oregon, Blinebry moved to New York. Shortly after, she met her husband, Al Blinebry. The two would go on to own a restaurant together, not far from the Colgate campus. Blinebry’s career continued to remain food-focused as she went on to start her own catering business. She began to work closely with Colgate as the school offered several opportunities for her catering business. 

“It was hard work, especially at the start. But I’d do a lot of events with Colgate, like alumni lunches and things like that,” Blinebry said.

This connection to Colgate is how Blinebry eventually secured the job as the chef at Phi Delt. Since she was already associated with the school, Blinebry often covered for the old chef when she was sick. She explained how she made some changes in the Phi Delt kitchen early on that members seemed to enjoy. 

“Even before I worked full time at Phi Delt, the boys loved my food,” Blinebry said. “I did things a little differently; I made sure everything was healthy and not processed. I would do international cuisine on Mondays, always changing it to unique foods from all over.”

Eventually, Blinebry and her husband were interviewed to take over as the chefs. They got the positions and worked in the kitchen together for several years before Al Blinebry retired. Nowadays, Sue Blinebry works alone with the help of her kitchen crew, composed of three members of Phi Delt. Blinebry takes great pride in how efficiently she runs the kitchen. 

“At 6 p.m. every night, everyone is here eating together; I think that’s pretty special,” Blinebry said. “It definitely takes more work to have that over a buffet, but it’s worth it.”

While the tradition of international Mondays has phased out over the years, Blinebry continues to go above and beyond to create special dinners. At Phi Delt, every Friday is the beloved “Fried Friday,” where Blinebry prepares a variety of fried foods and serves them buffet-style. The biggest tradition is the Thanksgiving Feast, when Blinebry’s husband comes back to the house to help prepare the huge meal. The two bring in their own decorations and set up a pair of long tables. The entire house enjoys the best meal of the year, and Blinebry makes sure to prepare everyone’s favorite dish to make all members feel at home during the holiday season.

Blinebry puts hard work and dedication into everything she does, including working long hours for the benefit of Phi Delt for the past several years. Every day, Blinebry continues to work as hard as she did for her restaurant and catering business. She continues to care for the people she serves and still uses the plates and silverware from her catering business each night at dinner.

“I love my job,” Blinebry said. “I get to be a hard worker, and it’s tough, but that’s what I’ve always done.”

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