If you have ever wondered what Reindeer Stew is like, Heather Berrocales can tell you all about it. “It was very good and was mainly meat strips and brown gravy.” Heather spent a year in Finland before heading to college, which is where she was able to try this unique dish. Heather says her time in Finland is where the inspiration to enter into hospitality management originated. Heather followed this inspiration to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Hotel Administration. After graduating, Heather worked as a Sales Manager for Olive Garden and a General Manager for Qdoba Mexican Grill. Heather started with Illinois State in 2009 as the Unit Manager for Southside Dining Center and the campus bakery. She now is the Assistant General Manager for retail operations. To Heather, the best part about working for Illinois State University is the opportunity to work with the students: “I enjoy watching them grow and experience this part of their life."
Joy joined Illinois State University as an Assistant Administrator of Retail Operations in November of2015. After received her Bachelors of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences from Illinois State University in August of 2007, Joy worked as Global Appraisal of Individual Needs Quality Assurance Supervisor for Chestnuts Health systems for 8 years, as well as shift leader/ relief manager for restaurants. Upon beginning work at Illinois State University, Joy was baffled by the size of Campus Dining. “I feel like, as a student, I viewed Campus Dining as just being the dining centers. Knowing we have retail, catering, and even administration office opportunities available was new to me.” What she enjoys most about working Illinois State University Campus Dining Services is the fast pace environment and her co-workers. Outside of Campus Dining, Joy spends time with her family and friends; cooking, baking, and trying to garden.
Rebecca Meier hopes our guests know how much time we put into making sure they receive the best of the best when coming to Illinois State University. Rebecca is the Customer Service Manager at Watterson Dining Commons and has been with Illinois State University since 2002. “We take multiple steps to ensure that our students and guest are satisfied. From the production manager who orders and checks the food in, to the Food Service Worker who preps the food, to the cook who makes the recipe, to the Lead Cook who ensures that the food preparations meet our expectations and standards, to the Unit Chef who oversees it all … we work hard to make our guests happy.” Before starting her career in management here at Illinois State, Rebecca worked at many restaurants and many different jobs in the food industry, including waiting tables and working as a prep cook. According to Rebecca, she loves working in the food industry “because of the limitless possibilities that are available to you.”
If you ask Ann Smoots what she enjoys about working at Illinois State University she would say, “working with students; they keep me young.” Ann also has another special reason she enjoys working here at Illinois State: helping students from overseas. Ann is from Korea, where she worked as a Dietitian at Yonsei University Medical Center. Ann is now a Customer Service Administrator at Jamba Juice and has worked at Illinois State since 2001. She says the best place to eat in Central Illinois is right here in Bloomington, Illinois at Hayashi Japanese Restaurant. But if you were to ask her where the best place to eat in the world is, she’d say “Seoul, Korea!!!!” When Ann is not working, she likes to spend her free time watching movies and working in her garden.
When Kyle Vann traveled to Rome, Italy, he discovered his favorite restaurant. “I ate at a restaurant named Hostaria Dino E Toni. The restaurant did not have menus. They just brought out five courses: antipasti, pasta, meat, dessert, and after -dinner drinks.” He says the restaurant was delicious and recommends that if you have a chance to visit Rome, to eat here. When Kyle is not traveling the globe, he is working here at Illinois State University as the Assistant Manager for Retail Operations. Kyle started working for Campus Dining when he was a student in 2002. Before coming back to Illinois State as a full-time employee in 2005, he worked as a Merchandiser for Pepsi and spent some time in retail operations. When asked what he enjoys about working with students at Illinois State University he said, “I enjoy working with people at this stage of their lives; they are full of energy and have great attitudes.”
As General Manager for Burger King/Pizza Hut Express, Debbie White is an expert at many of the foods college kids love: burgers and pizza. Debbie joined Illinois State University Campus Dining Services in 2002 after spending 13 years managing a Hardees location in El Paso. Debbie’s favorite thing about working with the students here at Illinois State is “molding them into mature adults who take pride in what they do. When you work with a student for three or four years, the day they graduate, you actually feel like the proud parent.” Summer is her favorite time of year because she enjoys working in her garden and here at Illinois State. “It is less hectic and you have more time for one on ones with your staff. I like treating staff to lunch and I get the chance to know them better.”
At Grant Hoke’s desk, you will find pictures of his children, thank-you letters from guests and employees who have eaten at McAlister’s Deli, and Star Trek bobble heads. Grant has worked for Illinois State University Campus Dining Services since 2008. He started his career at Illinois State as the Manager for Burger King before heading to McAlister’s, then Watterson, and now where he enjoys “teaching students about the importance of taking pride in their work.” Before joining Campus Dining, Grant earned his Bachelor's degree in Restaurant Management from Southern Illinois University and began his career working for two national restaurant chains in the Illinois and Iowa areas. His favorite thing about working in the foodservice industry: “the people and of course the food!” And speaking of food, Grant’s favorite place in the world to eat would be New Orleans; “New Orleans impressed me the most on the quality and variety of restaurants the city has to offer.”
Having five children can limit the free time you have outside of work, but Tina McCormick somehow finds time to do it all. “I spend much of my time attending my children’s various activities including swim team, cheerleading, gymnastics, baseball, piano, cello. When I have time for myself, I like to read and garden.” When at work, Tina serves as the Assistant Manager of Retail Operations, overseeing the outside venues including Airport Lounge, Business Bistro, Starbucks & University High School. Tina started at Illinois State in 2001 and has held a few different positions throughout Campus Dining Services. Prior to her time at Illinois State University Christina worked in many different positions in the foodservice industry since she was 16.