Feeding an entire campus is no small task.
Jimmy Jones, known on campus as Chef Jimmy, spends his days prepping, planning, and providing 1500-1800 meals a day to the Heidelberg community. As Chef Manager, Jimmy oversees all the food served on campus. He is involved with Fireside and catering events, but spends most of his time in Hoernemann.
“Don’t get intimidated and think you have to jump right into the first big line you see,” he said. “Take a look around first.”
There are many options to check out. The salad bar, deli station, pizza bar, exhibition station with made-to-order options, comfort station, and soup bar all change daily. Students can download the Campus Dish app to check out the menu before they even get in the dining hall.
Over the years, he has developed the menu to meet the needs of students. “It’s my goal to create a flexible menu with options for everyone,” he said. Jimmy has worked to provide gluten-free options for students including gluten-free pizza crusts, cereal, chips, and breads. He is looking into new pastas and cookies.
Students with special dietary needs should feel free to talk with him. “I’ve got salad dressing bottles in the back with student’s names on them who can’t eat certain things,” he said. “I do everything I can to accommodate the needs of someone who asks.”
Sometimes student choices speak for them. Jimmy monitors which meals are popular and tries to strike a balance in the menu between the most popular meals and healthy options. “It’s my challenge to try to break the trend,” he said. “I can’t make students pick the healthier choice, but I can give them options.”
Jimmy also plans meals through the catering service for PALS and other banquet functions. “There are not many places where you’d have to prepare 300-400 filet mignons for one meal,” he said. “It gets very interesting.”
Chef Jimmy has a clear passion for food and trying new things. His advice to students? “Be creative,” he said. “Mix pasta with things from the salad bar. Grab a wrap from the deli bar and roll up food from the comfort station. Everything is interchangeable.”