Celeb chef Vikram Vij to ‘play a role’ in Burnaby SFU’s new food program

Burnaby Now

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Vikram Vij
vijscrazygood / Instagram

Burnaby SFU students should see a change in the fare offered at their cafeterias next month.

The university has switched service providers, signing a new five-year deal with Chartwells, a company owned by British multinational Compass Group PLC, the largest contract foodservice company in the world.

Chartwells will take over from Sodexo (a French multinational), managing SFU dining operations, including providing food, beverage and staffing at the campus’s 24/7 dining hall, two Starbucks, Diamond Alumni Centre and a number of other outlets.

The new food program will include a partnership with Vancouver celebrity chef Vikram Vij, who will “play a role with certain menu selections, be present at certain dining events, and oversee Iron Chef student competitions in our dining hall in the future,” according to the university.

In a press release Thursday, the company said it will bring a “world-class, student-first dining experience to the Burnaby campus – one that gives back and engages with the local and international community.”

The company highlighted its corporate social responsibility initiative: Thinking Ahead Giving Back.

Martin Pochurko, SFU’s vice president, finance and administration, said the initiative was a “game-changer” for the university.

“Their new commitment to local procurement, social innovation and giving back to the community really resonates with us,” he said in the press release.

The details of how Thinking Ahead Giving Back will work at SFU, however, have yet to be worked out.

“As TAGB is still in its first year, Chartwells is in the process of working with our educational partners to develop location specific events and activities,” Compass communications manager Laurelle Knox wrote in an email. “We will work collaboratively with SFU to develop programs that are important to the students, staff and SFU community.”

Chartwells will offer employment to SFU students, according to Knox, and the company has “committed to transition the current SFU associates to Compass,” she said.