Teresa Rasnake, a retired first cook for Dining Services, has received the university’s 2018 Staff Career Achievement Award.

Rasnake retired from the university in 2017 after 44 years of service.

Created in 2011 to recognize retiring staff members, the Staff Career Achievement Award is presented annually to individuals who retired the previous year and who distinguished themselves through exemplary performance and service during their university career. Nominees must have worked a minimum of 10 years at Virginia Tech. Each recipient is awarded a $1,000 cash prize.

Rasnake left behind a legacy of memorable dishes in Virginia Tech dining. During her 18 years at West End Market, over 20 million meals were provided to community members and students from that facility. Anyone who dined in West End was touched by Rasnake.

In the 1980s and 90s, Rasnake was one of the lead cooks at Schultz Dining Center, a cafeteria that fed the Corp of Cadets. Her unforgettable cooking effectively established her as part of the history of the corps. She is well-known for the abundance of recipes that she wrote, which are still used today at West End Market. One of her most enduring contributions was her involvement in the original Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) committee, which is a food management system that Virginia Tech Dining Services adopted in 1999 as part of its food safety program.

“She knew her staff and their strengths. She kept her eye on every detail and every person within her circle of influence,” wrote Patty Perillo, vice president for Student Affairs, in a letter of nomination.

Rasnake’s work centered on her kitchen and the students, staff, faculty and guests that she fed every day.

“Students will come back after having graduated five, seven, eight years ago, and they still ask about Teresa,” said John Barrett, assistant director at Turner Place. “She mentored generations of students in that kitchen. She didn’t just feed them, or teach them how to cook. She taught them lessons about how you do things right in this world.”