Daniel in the Lions’ Den entertains students


Aaron DuRall

New Lion’s Den chef Daniel Podschun sings to students while they wait for their food from the grill.

Jessica Link


Daniel Podschun began working in the Lion’s Den as a cook just two weeks ago. Full of life, he seems to enjoy each day for what it is.

Podschun gleefully flips burgers and calls teasingly out to his on-break coworkers between his conversations with students. His cheerful disposition and infectious optimism are the first things anyone would notice. 

 Despite Podschun’s short time at Missouri Southern, he’s already become known for his serenades as he works. 

“Oh, I love singing,” he said through steam and the clatter of utensils. “I love singing while I cook.”

Podschun said his favorite part of working at the University is interacting with students. 

“I like to see the smile on their faces when they get something, and they like it,” he said. “It makes me happy. I love my job, period. I love to cook. Cooking is my favorite thing; I cook for my friends, I cook for my family. I’ve always been a chef.”

Most students seem to take to Podschun immediately and enjoy discussing music with him. 

“A lot of the guys that come in here listen to rap,” he said. “I know some rap, and I’ll rap out. One of the guys that comes here says he likes me being a cook here because I just rap to him some of the rap he listens to.” 

While rap isn’t his favorite musical style—that would be country or rock—he says he will listen to anything. 

“I’ve worked grill before, mostly as a chef in nursing homes, but I’ve worked at a catering company [as well],” Podschun said. “I love cooking; my mom always says she wants to see me on one of those cooking shows like ‘Iron Chef.'”  

His mother may have high hopes of seeing him on national television, but he seems to take life at a slower pace. Podschun appreciates the small things in life, like fishing and a good song. 

In his youth, Podschun was a tenor in choir but says he perfers to sing for fun. He said he would sing for money or in front of a crowd if someone asked him but doesn’t have any real ambitions for his singing. 

He doesn’t appear to want fame or fortune from singing or cooking.

Despite his love for cooking, he said he didn’t know if he would go to cooking school. 

“I don’t really like looking ahead,” he said. “Every day is a new day. Every day you wake up with a smile on your face. Right, yesterday’s problems are yesterday’s. The future, you cannot see in the future. The ‘good book,’ it says no man can predict the future, so in five years−in five years I have no clue.”

 Podschun is more than just a gentlemen, he’s also a wonderfully positive person. He’s devoted not only to preparing your food with care but also to interacting with people and brightening their days, if not with his food and conversation, then with his singing. 

At the end of the day, that’s what students will remember about him−not the double cheeseburger or the grilled chicken sandwich−but the friendly smile, kind words and, sometimes, a song.