Your Dining Hall Chefs

Meet the Chefs

Executive Chef Carrie Anderson

Carrie Anderson is a graduate of Baltimore International Culinary College (currently Baltimore International College). Her career in the food service industry began with an obsession with flavors and cooking techniques that started at the age of nine. Over the last twenty years, Carrie has worked for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Dining Services program as a pastry chef and production chef for Catering, then a food service chef for residential dining and currently is the administrative executive chef for residential dining. Carrie's commitment to the U of I's pledge of inclusivity has led her to create and facilitate Dining Services' annual Social Justice Training Program as well as facilitating the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations' award-winning Five Days for Change program.

"The best thing I ever ate was from a colleague whose family owned a farm in Greece. They grew olives and made their own olive oil. The first spoonful I placed in my mouth almost had me in tears! I felt like I was tasting olive oil for the first time. It was so pure, fruity and fresh!"

Chef Mike Murphy

Mike was born and raised in Texas, and fell in love at an early age with Mexican food and its flavors. He graduated from Scottsdale Culinary Institute in 2000 and began his culinary career in Chicago as a Garde Manger chef at the Ritz Carlton in Chicago. He worked at various restaurants in Phoenix, AZ, Chicago, IL and Denver, CO, and even spent a brief period of time as an owner. He resides in Paxton, IL with his wife and two kids. He is a diehard Dallas Cowboy fan and loves spending time slow smoking choice cuts on his offset smoker.

"The best thing I have ever ate was brisket and beef back ribs from a small smokehouse in Marlin, TX. Food like that takes hours of patience and love. You don’t find food like that every day!"

Chef Crystol Smith

Crystol is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park. She worked in catering and restaurants for 10 years before coming to work at the University of Illinois. She found her home in Dining Services in 2014 as Assistant Pastry Chef for Catering and became a production chef for residential dining in 2015 and head chef for residential dining in 2019. Crystol, a pastry chef by trade, enjoys combining her love of art and science to create plant-based desserts as well as catering to guests with dietary needs. Crystol sits on the LGBTQ RC advisory committee and facilitates social justice trainings, working to deepen understating, allyship and inclusivity at the U of I. When not at work, she enjoys reading and spending time with her family. 

"The best thing I ever ate was found when I was studying abroad in Florence Italy — a hidden Lebanese food cart that served an out-of-this-world shawarma wrap!"

Chef SooHwa Yu

SooHwa was born in Seoul, Korea and moved to Champaign-Urbana in 1980. He started working at his family’s restaurant at the age of 15, and later attended the Western Culinary Institute (La Cordon Bleu) in Portland, OR. He graduated in 1997 with Culinary Arts, and right after graduation he found his first chef position at the Hyatt Regency, Chicago. He then moved on to the Hyatt McCormick Place in Chicago, managing the All Season Café and Stetson Chop House. He returned to Champaign-Urbana in 2001 and became employed by the University of Illinois as production chef in 2005. SooHwa continues his education in the culinary arts by earning over 200 continuing education hours and attending the Tastes of the World conference for the past seven years. He takes a team to represent University of Illinois dining service where they brought back 3 silvers and 3 bronze medals. “As a Korean-American chef, my most memorable event was at the Hyatt Regency where I planned the menus for a Korean Cultural Event, a celebration for over 300 people. In attendance was the Korean diplomat to the United States, who I was humbled to meet."

“The best thing I ever ate was Crispy Chicken Feet from an outdoor vendor in Korea, who was right outside of the train station. Sweet, sticky, and perfectly charred.”