Mississippi University for Women Dining Services has appointed Chef Wade Shoemake as the new executive chef, who brings his exceptional culinary expertise to enhance the campus dining experience.


“I’m excited about the opportunity to work on this historic campus and look forward to getting to know all of the students and staff. I hope my experience in upscale dining can bring a new energy to our team and really take our catering to a new level of excellence,” said Shoemake.

Shoemake’s experience is distinguished by a unique partnership between the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and MGM Resorts International (MGMRI). Graduating in 2007 from UNLV’s culinary program, which was fast-tracked and sponsored by MGMRI, Shoemake emerged as one of only 15 successful candidates out of over 500 applicants. This exclusive program not only provided an accelerated path to an associate degree but also offered opportunities for managerial roles within MGMRI.

A testament to the investment made in his education, Shoemake and his fellow graduates signed a two-year employment contract and a non-competition agreement with MGMRI upon graduation. Notably, Shoemake’s journey took an intriguing turn when a producer from “Hell’s Kitchen” reached out to him. However, due to the show’s partial ownership by a competitive entity, he couldn’t pursue the opportunity. This anecdote adds a fascinating layer to Shoemake’s culinary narrative, showcasing both his talent and the unique challenges he faced.

His passion for cooking was ignited at a young age, inspired by his father’s culinary skills, and fueled by the moment he saw Chef John Currence judging a show on the Food Network. At just 16, Shoemake approached Currence for a job at Boure, marking the beginning of his culinary career.

Shoemake holds a special memory of meeting and cooking for the late Anthony Bourdain, an experience that stands out among his many encounters with renowned chefs.

One of Shoemake’s standout dishes is the Red Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta, showcasing his talent for crafting rich and hearty flavors from scratch. During his tenure at The Mansion inside MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where he created a Butter and Rosemary Poached Langoustine with Foie Gras Foam and Truffle Dust, earning accolades in the highly acclaimed 3 Michelin star restaurant.

Keeping abreast of food trends is crucial to Shoemake, who leverages social media and maintains connections with chef friends in major cities known for award-winning restaurants. He appreciates the current trend of using affordable cuts of meat in creative ways, showcasing his commitment to staying both relevant and resourceful in the ever-evolving culinary landscape.

Shoemake’s extensive training and travels have shaped his ability to build creative and modern menus, and he is excited to bring this expertise to The W. His enthusiasm for mentoring and nourishing the future generation aligns perfectly with the university’s values, promising an exciting chapter for both Shoemake and the W community.

When asked about his cooking philosophy, Shoemake emphasized cleanliness as the foundation for creating exceptional dishes. He believes that cooking clean leads to clean and exquisite food, a principle he adheres to in every aspect of his work.

Alongside his culinary endeavors, Shoemake enjoys spending time with his two daughters, Maggie and Rivi, and is an avid college sports fan.

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

Be Bold. Tower with Blue.