Cooking with the Callahans: President Christopher Callahan and his wife Jean share a family favorite

President Christopher Callahan, right, with his wife Jean Callahan.

President Christopher Callahan and his wife, Jean Callahan, show off the Stetson Chopped Salad the couple prepared during their Cooking with Pacific Leaders event on Oct. 5. 

“Food is a manifestation of love." —University of the Pacific President Christopher Callahan

University of the Pacific President Christopher Callahan and his wife Jean cooked up an entertaining evening on Oct. 5 during the recent installment of Cooking with Pacific Leaders.

The couple, now settled into their new on-campus home and donning Pacific polos, welcomed an audience that included family, plenty of Pacificans and Christopher Callahan’s former Arizona State University colleagues for a virtual demonstration as they made a Callahan favorite: Stetson Chopped Salad.

Jean Callahan shared with the audience that she was introduced to the salad, which originated from the Scottsdale, Arizona-based restaurant Cowboy Ciao, during a business dinner. She loved it and had to share with Christopher Callahan, who as a “good husband” found a recipe. The vibrant salad, which features rows of pumpkin seeds, cheese, arugula, corn, smoked salmon, couscous, tomatoes and dried cranberries, has been a mainstay ever since and is often shared with friends and family.

During the cooking demonstration, President Callahan shared his Italian family’s affinity for cooking.

“Food is a manifestation of love,” he said, adding that while he enjoys cooking, he is by no means a “good cook.”

“I am horrified to know that (history professor) Ken Albala is on the line tonight, which is like trying to do a golf lesson with Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus on the line,” he quipped about Albala, who is well known for his culinary chops and expertise.

Guests had opportunities to ask questions of the couple, including what was the first dish Christopher Callahan made for Jean—prepared crab meat salad served atop a ripe avocado—to their favorite restaurants in the area—Papapavlos in Stockton and Pietro’s in Lodi, they shared.

Georgette Hunefeld, senior director of strategic philanthropic initiatives at Pacific, asked Christopher Callahan: “Being from an Italian family, do you call it sauce or gravy?”

Jean Callahan recalled that a few months ago she told Christopher that his mom refers to it as gravy, and he said no she doesn’t. After calling his sister, she confirmed that his mom calls it gravy “and she would never buy from a can,” Jean Callahan said.

Once done placing the rainbow of ingredients on a large white plate, Jean Callahan said, “We are thrilled to share this with you all because it’s something that we love and enjoy serving to others and eating ourselves, but most importantly we have the opportunity to see everybody and have a connection.”

The next Cooking with Pacific Leaders is at 5 p.m. Oct. 12 and features Health Sciences founding Dean Nicoleta Bugnariu who will be cooking up something special in her kitchen.

Watch the video here.