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Ten Questions with Bill Moore

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Bill Moore is the Metz General Manager for new New College, and though he has been on campus for less than two years, he has already become a beloved friendly face in the daily lives of students. With over 32 years of experience in the business side of the food industry, Moore does his best to provide quality food to the New College community — which he has quickly come to call family.

  1. What was your first job and what did you do before working for Metz?

My first job was working as a busboy in a restaurant. My mother owned the restaurant so we worked in the family restaurant growing up. My mother always told me, “Don’t get into this business. It’s hard work.” So you know, I went to college for business, and now I’m in food business. So my specialty is managing the financial and the fiscal responsibilities.

Before I worked for Metz I worked for a company called Guckenheimer and they’re out of San Francisco. And I used to manage big corporation’s food service divisions. So I ran International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C., the World Bank in Washington D.C. I also ran Alcoa in Pittsburgh, Siemens in Orlando and a couple places in Baltimore. I originally managed Alcoa and then I moved up in the company and I started opening up new accounts and traveling all over the United States. And that was pretty fun. Then I got into D.C. which, when we had the International Monetary Fund, I would do Christmas parties that were like $500,000. Every floor of the International Monetary Fund was decorated and it was just amazing. And then we would have the summits where everybody would come from all over the world and we would do foods from all over the world. That was one of my favorite jobs. So I did that, and then my mother had gotten sick and so I wanted to be closer to her so I took a job with Metz running K-12 in Pittsburgh. I ran one of the premiere K-12 schools in Pittsburgh. I had about 10,000 students and 15 buildings that I ran food for. That was my last job before coming to Florida to work at New College.

Photo credit: Giulia Heyward

  1. Did New College surprise you in any way?

Coming here you’re told one thing about New College students and I would say 95 percent of the students here are absolutely amazing, and they’re my family, because I see them more than I see my family and I’m here for all three meals usually. So now when I hear people say, “Oh they’re a bunch of hippies,” I’m like, they are so much more than that when you get to understand them and know them. They’re very smart, they’re very kind, and they’re very honest. I was amazed — you know what we went through when we first opened, the lines were so long out there — students would sit down and eat and then come back up and say, “Bill, I had this, this, and this, I just needed to eat and I couldn’t wait in line.” The honesty is just amazing.

  1. Are there any particular challenges to feeding New College Students?

I wouldn’t call it a challenge, but I’ll tell you, the vegan and vegetarian thing scared me very much coming in here. Because I didn’t really understand it much, and coming here I’ve learned so much. The vegan students have taught me a lot. I’ve started eating a little bit of meat again but I  went vegetarian for four weeks. I read an article about the animals, and I love animals, and that really hurt, about how many animals are killed just to feed me, so I stopped eating meat. And I lost like 13 pounds! So my goal is to kind of get back into that program again. I definitely believe in the Meatless Monday thing that we do here. So I think that was the biggest challenge in the beginning but it’s been the greatest blessing to have learned about that aspect of food.

  1. Was going vegetarian a major change for you?

Well Kevin cooks very vegetarian at home, he doesn’t cook with a lot of meats. We do a lot of beans, a lot of pasta at home with just marinara sauce. So I eat meat here because it’s here but at home we don’t eat a lot of meat, especially when Kevin cooks. Now me? I’m more of what you call a southern cook. I do the fried chicken and the stuffed cabbages and all that. But being here I don’t cook as much now and Kevin’s been cooking a lot more. So we do eat a lot more vegetarian at home.

Photo credit: Giulia Heyward

  1. What is your favorite kind of food?

I like southern food. I like soul food, soul food is my favorite food. Growing up my best friend was black, and back then you couldn’t have black friends, but me and this gentleman we always hung out together and his mother would always invite me in the house and I would eat all these foods that were amazing and that I had never had before. I’m also a church organist and the first church I played at was a baptist church and it was a black church, and the foods that they would cook on Sundays — oh my god, so good. So all of these black women would start teaching me how to make cobblers and collard greens and fried catfish — traditional foods. And so I get excited about good soul food. Over in Newtown there are a few soul food restaurants but in Pittsburgh there was this place called the Southern Platter and it was absolutely amazing. Amazing. Soul food is food from the heart, because it’s made with love.

  1. What is your favorite dish that Metz makes here?

I don’t want to say a favorite dish but I think my favorite station at New College is Gin’s station, the Bravo station. I think it’s the most innovative, I think it’s restaurant quality food and you can always get a vegetarian dish off of that. So I really like that station for the diversity.

Photo credit: Giulia Heyward

  1. What do you think makes food important?

I think food is very social. So, not only to take our bodies and give it nourishment but I think food brings people together and that’s what I love about the food industry, and even watching these students out there, is the interaction during lunch time, the interaction during dinner. And that’s what’s so important about food. You’ll never see me eating alone, I don’t like to eat alone. Like if I come into my office and eat alone it’s very depressing. Food is very social. So I think that’s the most important thing about food.   

  1. Sweet or salty?

Sweet. I have a sweet tooth, definitely.

  1. It was your birthday this month, did you do anything special?

I worked the medieval renaissance conference. I was here from seven in the morning until 11 at night. But, you know, as I get older — birthdays are important but they’re not what they were when I was younger — I treat every day as a special day. Every day is a blessing, every day is a good day.

  1. Do you have any hobbies?

Music. I love to play the piano, I love to play the organ. Those are the things I really enjoy. In Pittsburgh I had this massive organ. When I’m frustrated that is the best thing to calm me. Now I play the piano, so Kevin can always tell, he’ll say, “You’re not in a real good mood, are you?”

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