Tucker Dining Hall at William Woods University saw quite a few changes over the summer season. We sat down with Director of Dining Services Jim Utterback to discuss a few of those changes, the rest of the Tucker Dining leadership team, and what it takes to open Tucker Dining Hall for fall semester.
Marcus Penn: Jim, thanks for taking off your apron for a few minutes to talk with us! You were busy this summer making some big changes for your guests. Tell us about those?
Jim Utterback: This summer we added a new Trattoria serving pizza and pasta, and we’re very excited! We built the Trattoria so students can see us making and baking pizza and then easily help themselves to a slice from one of two carousels. We’re offering a variety of pizzas on different crusts so everyone will find something they love. The Trattoria will be open for lunch and dinner every day which we know excites our guests. All you can eat pasta and pizza…madness I tell you!
MP: You’re assisted by Rachel Rodgers and Chef Zach Wells recently joined the team as Campus Chef, can you tell us more about them?
JU: Rachel is someone I value having on my team, I think of her so highly. She has a passion for the students and finding ways to wow them. She settles for nothing less than amazing and brings a smile to everything she does.
Zach coming to WWU makes me feel like the last piece of the puzzle is finally in place and the picture is perfect. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the table, and his personality will make this year the best we’ve ever had. Zach is teacher at heart and has taken all our cooks under his wing to make them better at what they do. The impact he’s already had is immeasurable. Zach has a true passion for his craft and that is motivating all of us in ways that I have never seen.
MP: There is a lot to do when preparing the dining hall to open for fall semester. Can you shed a little light on that?
JU: Getting ready to open for the fall semester is an incredible undertaking. We don’t settle when looking for new team members because our WWU family deserves to have the absolute best. I like to call it, “Getting Aces in Places!”
The first couple of weeks of service are always intense. Sports teams back on campus, Freshmen week, and student check in keeps us on our toes leading into full service once classes start. We feel incredibly accomplished when we look back on the first few weeks of service. There is a bit of basking in the glow of how well everyone did as a team. I can’t help but be proud!
MP: Anything else for your guests?
JU: We are here for you! If you have suggestions on menu ideas, compliments, concerns, dietary needs, or just want to sit down and chat, we are here and always available.