Bringing foodie culture to PSU


To see chef Matt Steele’s carrot slicing and onion dicing skills in action, you’d think he’d be right at home competing on a TV cooking show like Iron Chef or Hell’s Kitchen. But for Steele, food preparation isn’t just spectacle. It’s a serious business. And he wants more people — students in particular — taking an active role in cooking for their own health.

Matt Steele

Steele takes an outsize role in feeding healthy, nutritious meals to the Portland State community each and every day. That’s because he’s the executive chef for PSU Eats, the on-campus food service company that prepares and serves meals in campus residence halls, eateries in campus buildings and as catered affairs for on-campus meetings and events.

Every day, Steele and his team serve 2,500 students, faculty and staff over 4,000 meals using more than 1,500 pounds of fresh, local and sustainable ingredients.

This marks the second year that PSU Eats has been serving the Portland State community. Thanks to a new agreement inked in 2017 with parent company Chartwells, PSU Eats now operates a dining center, food hall and catering across the Portland State campus.

PSU Eats Logo

Steele — a proud PSU alumnus, sixth-generation Oregonian and veteran of Portland’s vibrant food scene — knows that healthy, affordable food options need to extend wherever students, faculty and staff happen to be. That’s why he and his team have hosted theater style, on-campus events that highlight ways make nutritious food a reality, even from a dorm room. Recently they’ve hosted:

  • Bitchin’ Kitchen — A cooking demonstration, theater-style event where Steele prepares seasonal dishes that are easily prepared in a college dorm room. At the November event, Steele prepared veggie grain bowls with three sauces that are free of all the major allergens. -> Get recipes -> Watch video
  • International Food Fight — A cooking competition featuring international student chefs preparing tastes from around the world. At the November event, students from Bangladesh, Peru and Kuwait cooked meals from their homelands and a winner emerged victorious!

Good food shouldn’t have to be expensive, and so we want PSU students to have a variety of options for getting a nutritious meal,” says Steele. “Food insecurity continues to be a real struggle for many. At PSU Eats, we want to make sure that in addition to dining on campus, students have the skills to create delicious food on their own. And have fun doing it!”

-> Learn more about dining options available from PSU Eats

-> Follow PSU Eats on Facebook

-> Sign up to get Behind Every Meal Is A Story Newsletter from PSU Eats


Homepage photo: Matt Steele cooks at Bitchin' Kitchen event in November.
Top photo: PSU Eats Executive Chef Matt Steele

Story by Kurt Bedell
Video by Peter Simon and Spencer Rutledge