USM chef claims top prize at Aramark Culinary Excellence Competition

Making crème brûlée led Joshua Cathey into entering the South Region Aramark Culinary Excellence competition at Auburn University.  

Cathey won first place with his dish, Blackened Jerk Fish atop Coconut Rice with Citrus Slaw and Lime Crema. Cathey is an alumnus from Southern Miss. He graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in tourism management. He joined Eagle Dining in is a 2016 as a catering chef. Then he became executive chef in 2021.  

“Well, the ACE competition is a nationwide competition in Aramark,” Cathey said. “I was excited when they decided to bring it back. And so, with some encouragement from my boss Charles Dorsey, he encourages me to apply, and our region chef encouraged people to apply as well. So I threw my hat in the ring to see what happened.” 

His passion and ingenuity for Eagle Dining was key to his success, fueling great student outcomes at the university. Cathey loves to give back and serves on the culinary board of his hometown high school.  

“I love every minute of it,” Cathey said. “I love the students, I love the faculty and staff on campus, also the campus partners. We have a really great time here at Eagle Dining. I think we serve the community well, and it’s been my pleasure to give back to Southern Miss.” 

In July, Cathey will represent the Aramark Collegiate Hospitality at the National ACE competition.  

“For really what inspires me is to cook food in general is the reaction of that gratification, serving a great meal to someone. I’ve always liked to cook since I was a little kid running around the kitchen with my mom and grandmother just other people in the family.”