They swipe us into the Johnson & Hardwick cafeteria, roll sushi at the Student Center and help people decide what to eat in the Morgan Hall cafeteria.
These people are Sodexo employees, who sometimes serve as nutritional lifelines at Temple, whether during fourth meal at J&H, or when we want to get a quick smoothie.
Take Walter Gordon, for instance, otherwise known as Walt. He works in the J&H dining hall. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Gordon is a cook at J&H and has been working at Sodexo for 21 years.
Gordon is responsible for breakfast, which he calls “the morning show,” and the pasta station for lunch. He is usually mixing pesto and broccoli to create the perfect topping for a student’s pasta of choice. Besides making pasta and conducting the morning show, Gordon said that he tries to give everyone a beaming smile when they walk into J&H.
“I went to a culinary program here at Temple and they picked me up from there,” Gordon said.
South Jersey native and Executive Chef Sam Knox has been working for Sodexo at Temple for 16 years, but he doesn’t associate this longevity with humdrum monotony.
Instead, he happily describes a typical day of working as “fun, fun, fun.”
“I come in, show my employees how to do stuff, put the meals out and deal with the students,” Knox said.
Knox said that his motivation stems from “just loving what he does.” Though he enjoys working as executive chef, he said that his dream job would be similar to the Food Network series Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, where the hosts drive around the country tasting a plethora of foods.
On the other hand, Sous Chef Ron Ettorre from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, aspires to become an executive chef one day. He has been working at Temple’s Sodexo for a year and primarily cooks in the Student Center cafeteria.
Ettorre said he works 10-hour shifts that include a lot of cooking, ordering, supervising, inventory and cleaning.
“Pretty much here, it’s for the service of the students,” Ettorre said.
Ettorre said he hopes his experience working at Sodexo will ultimately help him manage multiple units when he is an executive chef. He emphasized the role students play in motivating him to provide the best service and keep going throughout the day.
Next time you are in Morgan Hall, J&H or the Student Center, make sure to thank Sodexo employees for swiping us in and cooking our breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the eyes of Ettorre, Knox and Gordon, we are the ones that ultimately keep Sodexo employees going through their workdays.
Written by Taylor Calta
Photographed by Jademan Baker