If you’ve ever had a meal at the Embassy Suites, Eclipse, or the now closed Prime 1000 Steakhouse, you may have tasted the work of Demond Hughes, also known as Chef D. Chef D said years of cooking have prepared him for the ultimate culinary challenge: preschoolers.

“The most stressful tasting I’ve ever had was in this building, and you know what the baby told me? ‘Slight salty’. Can you imagine somebody this big telling you your meal is salty and you gotta sit there and take it?” said Hughes.

Despite that salty response to his food, Chef D has settled in nicely at the University City Children’s Center, a school for pre-kindergartners.

“They make me feel good every single day. I’ve been here almost nine months and I have yet to go home in a bad mood,” said Hughes.

That’s saying a lot when you’re cooking for allergic eaters, picky eaters, enthusiastic eaters, and brutally honest eaters.

“Here they’ll let you know, ‘Chef, I didn’t like that’, Or ‘I loved it’. Either way I’m fine,” said Chef D.

Hughes gets multiple hugs every day from the pre-schoolers and it gives him hope.

“This is what America needs to see. They need to see everybody intermingle with each other. Not just this color on this side, that color on that side,” said Hughes. “Everybody is together in this building.”

Food for thought: for Chef D, finding what he calls the perfect job has been delectable.

“I don’t see myself leaving here, period. They’re going to have to drag me out of these doors,” said Hughes. “This is my gift. They are my gift. I don’t have any kids, but I have 200 now.”