New Chef and Dining Options at Faculty Club

In-person dining has returned to the Faculty Club, which has a new head chef, Keily Busby, the 2018 runner-up of MasterChef Dominican Republic.

Diners can now make reservations for lunch at the Faculty Club for groups of up to six people for a prix fixe, plated three-course meal. A private room that accommodates up to 10 guests is also available by reservation.

The Faculty Club will continue to offer daily grab-and-go breakfast and lunch with no reservation required. Grab-and-go dining has been popular, with more than 400 customers each day. The re-opening of reservation-only in-person dining alongside grab-and-go lunches serves a broader range of customers.

“The Faculty Club used to be a place before the pandemic where everyone went to eat,” says Michael Alberto, executive director of the Faculty Club. “Then the pandemic came, and we shifted to grab-and-go, which financially made more sense. But something was missing: Where do you bring a new potential faculty recruit for lunch when you’re showing them around campus and want to introduce them to people? In-person dining alongside grab-and-go is the best of both worlds.”

Meet Chef Keily Busby

In making this transition, the Faculty Club hired a new head chef who brings expertise in private dining, restaurants, and catering. Chef Keily Busby, originally from the Dominican Republic, was first runner-up on the reality show “MasterChef Republica Dominicana” and worked as an executive chef at MamaTaco in New York before taking over as the Faculty Club’s chef de cuisine. Since joining Columbia in October 2023, Busby has freshened the menu at the Faculty Club to offer options tailored to the tastes of customers.

“Every week I have a different menu, new meals,” says Busby. “That way we’re always giving our guests at the Faculty Club something different and exciting, and in the process we’re finding out what dishes are popular with our guests. For example, a lot of our patrons like Latin food, so we do Latin food twice a week now. It’s really created a buzz that’s built organically.”

Keily Busby

In addition to grab-and-go breakfast and lunch and dine-in lunch service, the Faculty Club provides dinners for the student meal plan and caters all on-campus events. Event volume this year has climbed back to pre-pandemic levels, with about 20 events per day and an estimated 6,000 total events for fiscal year 2024.

Alberto hopes to continue to expand the scope of the Faculty Club’s offerings, envisioning regular community happy hour events and cooking demonstrations with Busby.

“People should know it’s not going to be just the same old thing that’s been offered before,” Busby says. “We can create customized experiences and menus to meet our guests’ needs. Food is boring if you do the same thing forever. We want to reach more people, and, through food, we can do that.”


Learn more about the Faculty Club and make prix fixe lunch reservations.