It’s no surprise that Nyack’s Master Chef, Dan Steinbach, received the Innovator’s Award for his originality and creativity from Pioneer College Caterers. There’s no denying the energy and expertise Dan has brought to the table since 2020 when he moved his family from Oklahoma City to become food service director at Nyack’s Jersey City dorm.
The Eatery at Nyack offers its students the usual all-American fare—burgers, fries, nuggets, pizza and wings. But the school’s core value of intentional diversity is even integrated into the meal plan students are loving, thanks to the “man behind the menu.”
Catering to student requests reveals his desire to please and he’s gathered a robust following on Instagram with his meal prep videos filmed to the beat of hip-hop and rock soundtracks. International students feel at home away from home because of Dan’s gastronomic gallery of cuisine from Germany, Peru, Britain, Asia, and Spain. Such a far cry from collegiate “mystery meat” or powdered eggs.
A sampling of Eatery headliners include: The Tik Tok Quesadilla Bar. Tuscan ratatouille and Italian aioli grilled chicken. Chili naan, sticky coconut rice, curry roasted veggies and grilled tandoori chicken. Lobster mac and cheese. Slow-cooked BBQ ribs. Home-made ramen noodles with roasted vegetables, savory miso broth and soy soft boiled eggs. Cream pie milkshakes.
Before Rajan Mathews was appointed the College’s 13th he recalls a visit to the residential hall. “When my wife and I first toured the facility, we were impressed by the state-of-the-art quality of the kitchen that was being built.” The soon-to-be president also learned that Dan’s passion is not just about cooking. “Even more amazing was to find out that part of what was to be done through this facility was feeding homeless and disadvantaged folks in the community.”
Dan made it a point to schedule a meeting with the school’s new leader, confidently making his authentic self known. “When Dan walked into my office, he blew every perception I had of chefs and food directors—tall, slim, dressed nattily in colored jacket and matching slacks, a rakish bow tie, and sunglasses.”
Personality plus was quickly a first impression. The new president, a successful businessman, would soon take note of another standout quality of the food service director. Dan identified a service that was not being fully engaged by students. “He brought this to my attention and recommended we discontinue that service,” the president proudly reports. “The cumulative savings from this was well in the six figures—no small savings to a college looking to save every penny that can be invested in the educational journey of our students.”
“In his effort to serve our students, Dan has gone well beyond the call of duty. On one occasion, when a major storm was predicted for the area, concerned for the well-being of our students and without prompting from anyone, he slept overnight in the kitchen so our students could have meals the next day! Now that is service!”
Nyack students are well-fed—spiritually, academically, socially—and at The Eatery!