Skip to main content

Meet Our Chefs

Vanderbilt Campus Dining is led by a team of talented and passionate chefs who are dedicated to providing culinary excellence through hand-crafted recipes and high quality service. They are committed to providing value through the best-tasting, most nutritious and diverse menus possible.

Our chefs are the driving force behind Vanderbilt Campus Dining’s many awards and accolades, including  Best On-Site Food Service Operation in the Nation, Best Food Service Operator, the prestigious Ivy Award, and many more.

Meet the leaders in our kitchens, the faces behind the delicious and diverse recipes we serve and the ones committed to creating memorable experiences shared around the dining table.


Director of Culinary Operations

Chef Brian Cochrane

Brian is a native of Middle Tennessee who lives in Franklin. He started his career of professional cooking on Martha’s Vineyard, MA during the Summers of his university years.

After a decade in non-profit work, he returned to the culinary world in 2002. Brian formalized his culinary education as an apprentice under a classically trained French chef. After years of fine dining restaurant and private club positions, he entered the arena of dining service for education.

He has managed dining operations at several private K-12 and post-secondary schools, including University of Arkansas Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute. Brian’s especially enjoys Mediterranean cuisine because the simple preparations allow basic flavors of fresh ingredients to shine.


Training Chef

Chef Douglas Best

Born and raised in Olympia, WA, Douglas Best discovered his passion for culinary arts while serving in the military, finding that food brought people together and was a great way to de-stress.

Following the military, he enrolled in the culinary program at The Art Institute in Nashville, TN. After graduation, he honed his skills working in fast-paced gastropub kitchens. Looking for a new challenge, he found himself an opportunity in higher education dining at Vanderbilt. Currently, he is heading the Vanderbilt Culinary Academy and the Underground Supper Club.


Vanderbilt University Athletics Dining Facility

Jason Marshall, Chef de Cuisine

Chef Jason was born and raised in southern Wisconsin. Developing a passion for cooking food at the early age of 13 he has been in the culinary arts world for over 30 years. After taking a culinary arts program in high school Jason worked at a family-owned Italian restaurant to start his career.

Chef Jason has backgrounds in hotel, convention centers, elite private country clubs, Senior living communities, and has lived in Wisconsin, Las Vegas, and Southern California during his career. With his extensive knowledge of fine dining and nutrition, and custom cooking classes he made the decision to join and lead Vanderbilt Athletics culinary arts team in October of 2022.

When Jason is not on campus taking care of all the student athletes, he enjoys spending time with his wife and children in Dickson Tennessee. He also enjoys hiking, visiting the ocean and spending time outdoors


Rand Dining Center

Grayson Holland, Chef de Cuisine

Grayson Holland was born and raised in Southwest Virginia, where he discovered his passion for food from an early age learning to cook with his grandmothers. After high school Grayson cut his teeth in fast paced kitchens from fast casual to catering, before enrolling in the Culinary Arts Program at Virginia Western Community College.

From that point, in April of 2018 Grayson went on to become a Sous Chef at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg Virginia. There he played an integral role in the operation of one of the University’s largest dining facilities, boasting 11 concepts, 2 food trucks, and a marketplace. He helped orchestrate high caliber special events, and everyday services with a passion to improve his craft, and the people around him.

Grayson played an important part in helping to achieve two Loyal E. Horton Awards, a grand prize in Residential Dining Special Events, and a gold prize for Special Events. With five years at Virginia Tech, Grayson helped keep the University in the top 2 of Niche’s “Best Campus Food”. After rising to the rank of Chef de Cuisine, Grayson came to Vanderbilt University in July of 2023 to bring his passion for good food, and good service to our community.


Rothschild Dining Hall

Joshua Smith, Chef de Cuisine

Hailing from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, our dedicated chef Joshua Smith has spent 15 years immersed in the culinary arts. He is happily married and a proud parent, family is their inspiration and steadfast support. Starting the culinary journey early in Pine Bluff, he refined skills in diverse establishments, developing a unique style blending tradition with innovation. Cooking is not just a job but a true passion, bringing immense satisfaction in crafting dishes that leave a lasting impression. Actively involved in the local community, Joshua uses culinary skills to support charitable causes. Eagerly anticipating new culinary adventures, he looks forward to sharing his love for food with a broader audience in the future.


E. Bronson Ingram Dining Hall

Julien Hicks, Chef de Cuisine

Embarking on a culinary journey at 15 in Lebanon, Tennessee, Julien Hicks honed skills at a local catering company for eight years. Involved in restaurant construction, menu planning, and launching ventures like an ice cream company and a food truck, he showcased versatility in the culinary world.  After a stint as a Sous chef at Yellowstone National Park, he returned to Nashville, managing a catering business and later becoming a culinary instructor at Lebanon High School for six years. Julien’s students excelled in state and national competitions. Last summer marked a shift, as he embraced the role of Chef De Cuisine at Vanderbilt University, continuing a dynamic culinary career.