R&DE Stanford Dining Executive Chef Joseph “Joe” Guinto knows there is no better way to build community than with food. Renowned for his friendly smile and delicious Filipino-influenced dishes, the chef is uniting Stanford one scoop of Ube (oo-beh) purple yam ice cream at a time.
Whether cooking for his home dining hall Gerhard Casper or special campus community-building events, Chef Joe is dedicated to providing exceptional customer service and innovative culinary skills wherever he goes.
For this and more, Joe, who is also the chef for Branner Dining and athletic meals, will be recognized for his outstanding achievements and service at the 2019 Stanford Asian-American Staff Awards ceremony on May 9.
“We are proud of Chef Joe as he exemplifies R&DE’s culture of excellence,” said Eric Montell, executive director of R&DE Stanford Dining. “Through his cooking, he not only provides a sense of home to our Asian community members but also allows others to experience new foods and cultures.”
Bay Area native of strong Filipino heritage
One look at Chef Joe’s forearms, inked with traditional Filipino tribal patterns, and it’s easy to see his heritage is a large part of his identity. Though he was born and raised in San Francisco, Joe is fluent in Tagalog and Kapampangan, native languages of the Philippines. A young Joe worked in the kitchen wrapping lumpia for his mother’s Filipino catering company. After graduating from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Chef Joe worked as a temp cook at Schwab Dining Executive Services under the guidance of mentor Chef Raul Lacara. Chef Joe was promoted to executive sous chef, and later worked at Ricker Dining as the Chef de Cuisine, where he gained valuable experience about food allergies.
The anti-Gordon Ramsay
Chef Joe embodies R&DE’s mantra of "Students (Customers) First!" Now in his fourth year at Gerhard Dining, he makes a point to connect with students, asking how their day is going and what their favorite foods are. “I don’t want them to think all chefs are mean like Gordon Ramsay, so I want to be very approachable,” said Joe. “Being away at school from home can be kind of lonely and stressful. Making students feel like they’re part of our family — that’s huge.”
And of course, food makes everyone happier. At the Gerhard Chef’s Table, Joe and sous chef Alice Pyo dazzle diners with their meld of Korean/Filipino cuisines. The Tasting Table is another way they connect with students while offering new, exciting flavors. “That’s a big thing for us,” said Joe. “It’s an opportunity to create dishes not on our core menu — a panna cotta, green tea matcha Boba, Açaí bowls or Jersey subs.”
Joe and Alice incorporate seasonal produce grown here on the O'Donohue Family Stanford Educational Farm into their core menu and Tasting Table offerings whenever possible. Recently, Joe blended spring onions and green garlic into a tasty chimichurri sauce, and sprinkled Baklava Brioche with edible Calendula flowers and honey from Stanford's beehives. "We take pride in supporting our campus farmers; in turn, it pushes Alice and me to use our culinary backgrounds to experiment and transform their ingredients into something special."
Produce from the Farm is also used at the Chef's Tables where Joe and his team create a special three-course for a handful of students each week. "We love creating a restaurant-quality, farm-to-table experience for our students who don't have the opportunity to go out and eat at fancy restaurants," said Joe.
Chef Joe and a one-team mindset
Joe makes a point to bond with his team. After all work is completed, the chefs and cooks gather over a family-style dinner to "talk story." Using leftovers, they trade off cooking detail, often making the dishes they grew up with to help connect colleagues to their heritage. Supporting Stanford Dining staff outside his home dining halls is important to Joe, too. He partners with cultural celebration location chefs to prepare some of the favorite dishes enjoyed at the annual Lunar New Year and Mardi Gras dinners. Chef Joe and his team enthusiastically assisted Chef Anthony Gutierrez in creating seafood paella with chorizo, clams, mussels and shrimp at a recent Lakeside Dining Chef Pop up.
“I love to collaborate with these amazing chefs,” said Joe. “Working together allows us to serve up an excellent culinary experience for our students campus-wide and be the best in the business.”