New Sous Chef comes to Malvern because of connection with current Dining Service Member
Sous Chef Mr. Shawn Buchanan joined the Malvern Dining Service staff last year. Many students know him as the staff member with the funky pants. What students may not know are the connections Buchanan had to Malvern prior to joining the team.
Buchanan works in the kitchen to support staff to everything that is needed. For example, Buchanan helps make sure the salad bar is ready for lunch as well as that the entrees are prepared to the best that they can be. When it comes to the entrees, Buchanan has to make various types of entrees like chicken, meatball sandwiches, pizzas, tacos, and so on.
“They say ‘jump.’ I say, ‘how high?’” Buchanan said.
Buchanan was able to get this job because of his relationship with Executive Chef Mr. Rick Conley who was already employed at Malvern. Conley called Buchanan asking him if he would like to come to Malvern and work in the cafeteria. Conley knew Buchanan as a colleague and friend before Malvern, from the days that they had previously worked together at a restaurant.
The resturant that the two formerly worked at was called Depot Market Cafe. The Cafe is located in Cape May, NJ and Buchanan started working there at the age of 16. Buchanan ended up working there for six years overlapping some of those years with Conley, which led to a job at Malvern.
At Malvern, the Dining Service makes different foods based on the students’ interest and satisfaction. Buchanan is familiar with the idea of making different types of food. “At the restaurant I worked at before, we are very creative and didn’t specialize in one thing. Some days we served Thai, but some days it was Irish,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan said he never had a goal of becoming a chef. “When I was 16 I just got a job with Mr. Conley in the restaurant and being a chef took off,” Buchanan said.
“The thing that just seems surreal is that I have been cooking for so long,” Buchanan said.
Most days Buchanan wears pants that look like his pajama pants.
“They are really comfortable. If you are going to be here for a 12 -15 hour day they are really nice,” he said. “Also the bright colors help hide stains.”
Right now his favorite ones are the ones with chili peppers but is looking to add to his arsenal.
“There are ones with a chef hat and wings that I am trying to find, but they are on backorder,” Buchanan said.
Most students who know Buchanan are his fans. “He is a cool guy and I love his pants,” Senior Joseph Pancerella ’17 said.
“He is a very nice guy,” senior Vince Sposato ’17 said. “I asked for something else than what they were serving and he said ‘yes’ and went out of his way and made it for me.”
“He caters towards your every need and is overall a nice guy,” senior Brian Wilcox ’17 said.
Buchanan has been a member of the Malvern Preparatory School Dining services for just a brief time and so far has made a big impact. The other kitchen staff were happy to have Buchanan join the team, especially Conley.
“Buchanan is a great worker,” Mr. Conley said. “I hand picked him myself.”
Story produced in senior Journalism and Media Literacy elective class.