It's not often a TV star is spotted hanging out on American University's campus. Why, then, did Food Network personality and restauranteur Jet Tila decide to come?

Here's everything you need to know about the award-winning celeberty chef's visit

A Day of Tila's Illustrious Cooking on Campus

Twenty-five hundred miles from his home in Los Angles, Tila spent most of his day in the Mary Graydon Center. He gave away plenty of signed cookbooks and live-streamed a demo kitchen session from the lobby.

Having owned two restaurants and appeared on six Food Network shows including Chopped and Iron Chef, Tila had no shortage of industry advice to spare for the throng of fascinated students before him.

"Pick up a dish that you're passionate about," he said while tossing a wok of pad kee mao over the stovetop. "Find a flavor profile you like. If you're interested in the culinary [arts], you have to do it."

The chef distilled everything needed to succeed in the restaurant industry down to three essential components.

"I've been a chef for thirty years. I've been on the Food Network for twelve. It all comes town to deliciousness, presentation, and story. If you do all those things, you'll do very well."

Chef Jet Turns Up the Brightness at Paper Lantern

Elliott Parrish

Tantalizing aromas wafted out onto the Friedham Quad as Chef Jet brought a one-day-only special menu to the Paper Lantern. Not surprisingly, the restaurant did more business that afternoon than any other day this semester.

I tried the Thai basil tofu with vegetable fried rice. The cubes of soy curds were soft and mild, flanked by steamed onions and shallots. While I usually find the sauces at Paper Lantern to be almost overwhelmingly strong, Tila's citrus basil sauce was more tasteful. It ideally complemented the rich, salty brown rice--making for a slight lunchtime upgrade at AU courtesy of a leading American chef.

Not Your Average Dining Hall Fare: What Chef Jet Brought to TDR

Elliott Parrish

Patrons of AU's flagship (and only) dining hall have been enjoying Tila's noodle bowls for the past few weeks. Featuring steaming chicken broth, egg lo mein, and shredded basil, his noodle counter was a million times better than the mac and cheese station it replaced.

Elliott Parrish

On the night of his visit, Tila brought another dish to hungry students: his signature drunken noodles. Intrigued, I braved the 20-minute line to try them.

While there is no consensus as to why drunken noodles are called "drunken," some say the spice is so intense that it makes one feel intoxicated. I can confirm this to be absolutely true. The chef's egg noodles were seasoned with rich sesame oil and oyster sauce, then blasted with red Thai chili paste. It was fiercely, unapologetically spicy.

Chef Jet even managed to improve the condiments at TDR. Alongside the usual mustard and ketchup, he featured a lovely relish of pickled radish, and an intriguing pink aioli (neither of which we will ever see again after his departure). Why exactly Tila chose AU for a visit, I couldn't guess. But I am very grateful he did.