Sullivan University graduate Andrew Moreno isn’t one to stand still. Upon graduation in June 2012 from the university’s culinary arts program, Moreno spent nearly four years working for Edelweiss in Germany, working his way up from “a simple breakfast cook” to executive sous chef of the entire Edelweiss resort
Then, he landed in McMurdo Station on Ross Island, off the coast of Antarctica, where he’s been since October 2016.
“During my stay [at Edelweiss],” Moreno said. “I heard from a friend of a friend of a friend that she was down here in Antarctica. When I finally left Edelweiss after three-and-a-half years, I looked into working in Antarctica, applied, I got the position… it was about 10 months between leaving Edelweiss and coming down here.”
Prior to his great adventures — which also included a seasonal stint at a wilderness lodge in Alaska — Moreno was a high school student who was told he had to “get an education,” though he had no idea what he wanted to do. He attended college for a spell, remaining undecided while testing the waters in everything from computer programming to psychology.
Two years later, he took a semester off to narrow down his options, leading to a conversation with a friend about Sullivan’s culinary arts program. Having worked in kitchens since 15, and finding enjoyment in that, Moreno jumped over to Sullivan to carve a path through the ice and snow to his new career.
But why Antarctica?
“Because not many people would want to go to Antarctica,” said Moreno. “I’m one of those people that’s a ‘path less travelled’ kind of person, and the uniqueness of coming down to Antarctica was always very intriguing.”
Though Antarctica’s cold winds, intense storms, and long day/night cycle would chase away most people, Moreno enjoys the adventure the southernmost continent on Earth delivers, working 10-hour shifts to feed around 163 members of the McMurdo Station community.
What keeps him going? “The people. It’s a different breed of people that come down here and work, all in the name of science. We have anywhere our Beakers and our Grantees to our heavy equipment operators… just to know and to see these different personalities… you develop some pretty strong relationships down here.”
What’s next for Moreno upon his departure from Antarctica in early October? A three-month break to travel Southeast Asia, then spend time with his friends and family before either working in the Middle East or returning once again to the land of ice and snow.
That said, Moreno has no interest in coming back to Antarctica more than a couple times or so, preferring to keep moving, experiencing the people and cuisines in his travels while furthering his knowledge of the world. He says he’s visited six continents and over three dozen countries since leaving Sullivan, and wants to keep finding new places along his career path.
“Through Sullivan and getting that first job there in [Munich, Germany],” Moreno said, “I was able to travel. I would go to high-end places, like Blummenhestenthal’s in London, very upscale… but then I’ve also had food from a street vendor on a corner in Bangkok with people going up and down the street, dogs running around everywhere… I’m more inclined, food-wise, to go to off-the-beaten-path places.”
When asked if he, after making his mark on all seven continents, would consider heading up to the Moon, Mars, or the cloud tops of Venus to continue his cooking adventure, Moreno voiced his doubts about such things:
“I don’t know about all that. That might be a little far out; I don’t know if it’ll be in my time. That would be an experience. I’m a person to pretty much volunteer for almost anything. If that opportunity ever presented itself, then yeah, I’d take a go at it.”
Whether you’re looking for an adventure of a lifetime, or wanting to make an impact at home, Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies is the first step into the world beyond, whether it’s making the finest dinners and desserts around, or managing the grandest of hotels and resorts.
When you’re ready to take that step, visit online at sullivan.edu/national-center-for-hospitality-studies, or call 502-456-6505.