GV executive chef to cook for Olympic athletes

Morgan Miller

As the 2012 London Olympics approach, athletes are not the only people whose Olympic dreams are being realized. Take Paul Mixa, Grand Valley State University’s executive chef, who is already across the pond preparing to be one of the Olympic chefs brought in from around the globe to cook up new recipies for the world’s best athletes in the Olympic Village.

Although Mixa knows he landed a once in a lifetime gig, he said he never thought about being an Olympic chef until the opportunity presented itself.

“I know it is an experience I will cherish and never forget,” Mixa said.

Mixa began his career as a chef in Arizona, while working at a large resort that doubled as a culinary school.

“After seeing the intensity of all the chefs in a large kitchen, I was hooked,” he said. “I always loved to cook and knew I was a foodie but never put it together to make it a career until I had seen the workings of a professional kitchen.”

He graduated from culinary school in 1993, and began working at GVSU’s Fresh Food Company in 2004. Mixa has also taught hospitality and tourism management courses, and competed in the 2007 North American ARAMARK Culinary Excellence Competition, a national competition in which Mixa took the gold medal.

Currently, he is the executive chef for GVSU’s Campus Dining, spending the majority of his work time focused on catering. Although he hasn’t had previous experience catering for athletes, he is working to “get a feel” for the Olympic food vision made for athletes. Mixa and the rest of the chefs will work around the clock in London, and will be required to follow strict recipe guidelines when cooking for Olympic competitors.

“I am really excited to learn what it takes to fuel an Olympian,” Mixa said. “I am very curious about the amount of calories they consume on a daily basis, and what those calories consist of in their diet.”

Not only is he excited to cook for athletes all over the world, he is also looking forward to seeing London and “the largest competitive event in the world.” He won’t have direct contact with the athletes, but he will still play a crucial role in their Olympic experience to give them the fuel and energy for their best possible performance.

Mixa will leave in mid-July and spend two months in London.

“Just being in the presence of the world’s top athletes and being able to feed them is an honor in itself,” he said.

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