Meet St. Jude Chef Miles McMath

Chef Miles McMath

Chef Miles McMath

Miles grew up hunting and fishing at an early age. “Food for our family was raised out of necessity,” he explains. “We grew, foraged and hunted almost everything on our plate. I have vivid memories of family gatherings with a purpose such as canning, butchering and harvesting.”

Chef McMath has been the owner of three successful restaurants, and has recorded over 100 cooking segments for local television show Mid South Living, where he appeared weekly for four years. He also appeared on the Food Network’s Simon Super Chefs Live and is a five-time Gold Medal winner in National American Culinary Federation (ACF) competitions.

Today, Miles maintains the garden at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where he is Director of Culinary Operations. “St. Jude has given me the opportunity to incorporate all of my experiences into one for the benefit of the patients, families and employees at St. Jude,” he says. “We have a garden that produces everything from mushrooms, lettuce and asparagus, as well as compost from our kitchen and worm beds."

To McMath, the biggest challenge of all is coming up with ways to influence children to eat when they don’t have an appetite and are far away from the comforts of home. He has created some unique ways of doing so, such as kids making and cooking their own pizzas, decorating their own cupcakes and numerous other hands-on cooking activities.

“If you allow children to participate in making their own food, they get excited and are a lot more likely to take a few bites,” he explains. “It’s the same with growing food. If you give a child a head of cabbage they are probably not going to be real excited about eating it. However, let them plant, grow and harvest it, and you’ll soon have an excited, hungry and well-nourished child.”

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