What do you do at ISR?
I’m the unit manager for Housing dining at Illinois Street Residence Halls. I oversee 40 employees: my chef, head cook, cooks, food service sanitation workers, laborers, kitchen helpers and storekeepers. We make sure that everything in the dining area runs smoothly. We make sure all the students get fed. We also serve students with special dietary needs at ISR.
Does ISR serve students with particular dietary needs?
Yes, we serve students who are diabetic, those who require gluten-free foods, those who prefer a vegan or vegetarian diet as well as those with a variety of other restrictions. Our dining hall features a number of special sections. We have our vegan court, and several vegetarian offerings that include salads, Jell-o and vegetarian entrées and soup. We have a panini station where students can make a sandwich. Our dietitian makes sure that students get exactly what they need.
How many kids eat at ISR every day?
We serve about 300 to 500 for breakfast, about 1,200 for lunch and 600 to 900 for dinner every day. We have a specialty restaurant on Friday, La Cocina Mexicana, which serves Mexican food and draws about 700 students.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Scheduling. Just making sure that there are enough staff to cover each job day to day. But I’m getting the hang of it now.
Tell me where you started at the UI and the other places you’ve worked.
I started at UI in 1985 as a storekeeper and worked my way up to a purchasing supervisor at Facilities and Services. I have a degree in food management that, I’d never really used. I stayed at F&S for 23 1/2 years. Then, an opportunity came up to take a test for food service about three years ago, and then I got a chance to interview. After that, everything kind of just fell into place for me. I was hired by Housing and I trained with Bill Morrison at Florida Avenue Residence Halls and Karen Moody at Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Halls. Then I worked at Busey Evans for a semester as unit manager and I had a wonderful time. I managed a staff of about 10 people, and we served 200 to 600 meals a day there.
How long have you been in your current position?
This is my first whole semester here and I love it. It’s a wonderful job. The staff is great and they’re starting to really work together. I think we’re doing really well.
Where does the passion for your job come from?
Food service is something I’ve always enjoyed doing. While growing up, I watched my great-grandparents bake a lot. My passion is in baking. My great-grandfather used to make an awesome spice cake from scratch. My great-grandmother used to make homemade rolls. I’m told I’m the only one who can make them like her. That’s because I learned all her little secrets. I used to watch her to see what she was doing (laughs). Part of what I love about food service is interacting with people. I’m not a real outgoing person, I do whatever I can to make folks happy. Part of that is baking – it always brightens someone’s day.
Do you ever sell the things you bake?
Every now and then someone will ask me to make a cake. I usually just charge what it costs to do it. I don’t do it to make money. Over the years, I have thought of opening my own business, but right now I’m kind of living my dream because I’m doing what I enjoy. I helped out with a restaurant our church, the Church of the Living God, used to own. The restaurant was called The Love Corner. We sold it to build a new church.
What is something that you take pride in at work?
I’m most proud of being able to make people smile. Just going around saying good morning and acknowledging them, being able to listen to folks and letting them know they have somebody who takes an interest in them as a person.
TERENCE BOLDEN FAST FACTS
Family: Originally from Quincy, Ill., Terence Bolden lives in Champaign with his family: his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Spenser and Sherodyn. His siblings – brother Andre and sisters Tamara and Teresa – also reside in Champaign.
Favorite place to eat: Chili’s
In his spare time: Terence likes to bake his family’s favorites treats: cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookies, dinner rolls, brownies, and carrot, red velvet and black forest cakes.
Books: Currently reading “The Shack.” He couldn’t put down “Good Morning, Holy Spirit,” by Benny Hinn.
Favorite TV shows: “CSI,” “House of Payne” and “JAG”
Favorite movie: The original “Clash of the Titans” – not the newest one, but the old one with Harry Hamlin
Favorite travel spot: Alaska