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QCC Veteran Shares His Love of Cooking With Others Each Week

April, 2020
  • QCC Veterans Club President Tony Barnardo was recently selected for a 2020 Student Veteran Leadership Award.
    QCC Veterans Club President Tony Barnardo was recently selected for a 2020 Student Veteran Leadership Award.
  • QCC Veterans Club President Anthony 'Tony" Barnardo chops some garlic in his kitchen.
    QCC Veterans Club President Anthony 'Tony" Barnardo chops some garlic in his kitchen.

College students around the world are adapting to new ways of higher education, yet for some QCC student veterans, their lives have been completely been upended in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. Many student veterans across the country, including some QCC student veterans, are now finding themselves activated.

“Our students are protecting our communities, leaving their loved ones and putting themselves in harms’ way for the greater good,” said QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja. “We cannot begin to thank them enough for all they are doing to keep us safe.”

While some QCC student veterans are activated, others are finding ways to help the QCC community during this international crisis. One way in which QCC’s Veteran Affairs and the Veterans Club have come together to help others is by emailing easy to make recipes each week, with food items commonly found in many kitchens. The recipes, aptly titled, “Quarantined in the Kitchen,” have become a welcome addition to people’s weekly menus. Each week new recipes are added. Recipes run the gamut from baked French toast and banana bread to chicken cordon bleu and crock pot beef stew.

The QCC community is also learning how to make each recipe first-hand through a weekly Facebook Live show, hosted by Veterans Club President Anthony “Tony” Barnardo on Wednesdays at 5:00 p.m.  Mr. Barnardo, who is in the Hospitality Management-Food Service program, said the idea to do a Facebook Live show came about after he created a QCC Veterans Facebook page, as a way for student veterans at QCC to stay connected. Other ways of keeping student veterans connected has been through Zoom meetings that have also recently started up.

“I wanted to do a weekly live video, but didn't really know what the videos would be about. Paula Ogden (Director of Veteran Affairs) started the Quarantined in the Kitchen emails, which are recipes other veterans send to her. I thought doing a live, Quarantined in the Kitchen would be cool.  Paula thought it was a great idea and I've run with it,” he said.  

Thus far, he has done several videos making adjustments based on comments received from viewers. 

“The first two videos were recipes I've found in the past and enjoy making at home.  Last week I made a creamy shrimp and pasta dish that my daughter asks for regularly.  She said it's the best dinner I make.  Some people didn't watch the video because it was seafood, so this week I decided to make steak. During the video yesterday, I asked the viewers for ideas of recipes they'd like to see me make,” he said.

Some of the recommendations he has received include hamburgers, pad thai, lasagna, and tacos. He said the response from people has been promising and week-to-week viewership continues to increase.

“The hardest part for me is talking to my laptop and not having any interaction with whoever is watching. I see comments come in, but it's not like having a conversation with someone. Also, filling in any lulls between cooking has been a challenge,” Mr. Barnardo said, adding it is a bit of a juggling act to cook, while simultaneously respond to view feedback.

He said he hopes the show will offer people another option to turn to once a week as a distraction from Netflix, TikTok, or as a small break from schoolwork. 

“I'd like to maybe teach somebody a cooking technique or recipe they haven't tried before,” he said.

While he will be graduating from the hospitality program this spring, he will still be taking classes at QCC this summer and fall to fulfill requirements for a second major he is taking (Business Transfer) before he begins classes at Nichols College in spring 2021. His goal is one day to open a food truck.

Mr. Barnardo recently learned he was selected by G.I. Jobs Magazine for a 2020 Student Veteran Leadership Award. The inaugural list honors 48 student veterans nationally who are making a positive impact at their school and in their communities. He will be part of a feature article in the August issue of the magazine. 

“The pandemic has shown me how vulnerable the service industry is in situations like this, but it hasn’t made me rethink my decision. When times get rough, you either let it defeat you, or you get creative and try something to keep going,” he said.