February 24, 2014

Iron Chef contestant checks in on SUNY Plattsburgh eatery

PLATTSBURGH — Celebrity chef Jet Tila has given his stamp of approval to the campus eatery that bears his name at SUNY Plattsburgh.

“What turned out to be a pilot (project) is one of the best Chef Jets in the country,” he said, noting the steady flow of customers coming to the station in the Sundowner dining hall on a recent evening.

Known as the Chef Jet Modern Asian Kitchen, the dining station was chosen in the spring of 2013 to replace the Yan Can Cook franchise in the Sundowner dining hall.


Tila’s culinary history began when his family opened some of the first Thai restaurants in the United States during the 1970s. Following an education at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school and the California Sushi Academy, he combined high cuisine with a casual cooking style that led to appearances on television shows including “The Today Show” and “Iron Chef America.”

Described on Tila’s website as “fast-casual” dining, the Modern Asian Kitchen features rows of pre-heated cuisine from a rotating selection of Asian nations.

Along with emphasising the variety of choices available, Tila described the company’s cooking philosophy as a move toward traditional Asian preparation.

“It’s time to evolve Asian dining from the perception of fried nuggets and orange sauce into something more healthy,” he said.


Glancing at the counter, customers will find the familiar staples of teriyaki chicken, tofu and root vegetables. Yet rather than floating in pools of thick sauces, the foods are sprinkled with herbs and resting in steam-heated trays.

Tila said the company is also looking into incorporating vegan and other alternative diets into their menus. 

Tofu dishes are offered daily, and the chef said the company is hoping to soon transition to using only gluten-free soy sauce.

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