Indiana State University Newsroom

London calling - ISU chef takes his culinary talents to feed those at the Olympics

July 18, 2012

As the world prepares to focus attention on the 2012 Olympic Games, a staff member with Sodexo at Indiana State University prepares to perform at a high level at a different venue - in the kitchen.

Executive Chef Jordan Bayles will be among 20 Sodexo employees from the United States cooking up meals for thousands of people at the Olympics and Paralympics in London.

"I've always like to travel," Bayles said. "I'm looking forward to working at such a high-profile event. This Olympiad is supposedly the largest catering event ever."

Sodexo will cater mainly to the anticipated 4 million spectators, media, officials, artists and performers at opening and closing ceremonies.

Feeding those populations alone is an exercise in volume and efficiency, but Bayles is looking to learn lessons that he can bring back to Indiana State.

"Even when you cook in such large quantities, you can still learn ways to cook more efficiently on a smaller scale," he said.

Cooking on the world stage has endless possibilities, but Bayles is remaining flexible and not set on specific specialties.

"I prefer classic French cuisine, but I can do just about anything," he said, smiling.

He applied for the opportunity in December 2011 through Sodexo and was recently notified that he was selected.

"Since then, it's been a busy time - securing a visa and making travel arrangements."

Bayles, who has been cooking professionally since 2006, is no stranger to the international scene. As part of his studies at the Culinary Institute of America, he completed a six-month internship at the American Club in Hong Kong.

Prior to joining Sodexo at Indiana State, he put his culinary talents to work at the Terre Haute Country Club, Terre Haute Regional Hospital and Westminster Village.

Bayles, who has worked at ISU since 2011, will arrive in London July 23 and stay at the University of Bedfordshire - roughly 45 minutes away from Olympic Park.

"I won't know my specific duties until credentials and assignments are distributed July 24 and 25," Bayles said.

But he's definitely up to the challenge cooking for a large, diverse crowd.

"Anytime a chef can get experience in a different culture benefits their cooking. As a chef, I read many flavor profiles of ethnic groups and regions," Bayles said. "Putting that knowledge in action is the key."


Contact and writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications and Marketing, 812-237-3783 or