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PROFILE: Bob Tucker Wears Many Hats -- Sometimes a Chef's

Bob Tucker, student/manager for Aramark, works summers at MarketPointe at Siddall.

Date: 8/16/2004
By: Wendy Beckman
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Photos By: Dottie Stover
UC ingot Can you hear the old folk song? “Get outta the way for old Dan Tucker—he’s too late to get his supper. Supper’s over and breakfast’s cookin’—old Dan Tucker just stands there lookin’….”

Dan Tucker might have missed his meals because he was just standing there looking, but Bob Tucker wants to make sure that UC students get fed. Visit MarketPointe at Siddall Hall during the summer and you’re likely to run into Bob Tucker, standing and looking at the cooks.

But UC means more to Bob than just hungry students — he is one, too. Bob is currently studying for a degree in organizational leadership in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences.

Bob’s formal education had taken a slight sabbatical from his high school graduation in 1967 until he enrolled at Cincinnati State in 1999. For a while he studied at Cincinnati State while working on the UC Clifton campus; then he transferred his academic pursuits to UC, as well.

Getting to know Bob Tucker is like peeling away the layers of an onion. Cooking is in his blood, starting with his mother’s two greasy spoon restaurants in Wisconsin.

“Turns out my mother was a numbers runner, too,” says Bob with a smile. “She had me regularly take a brown bag to the bartender down at the corner bar.” Luckily, Bob inherited his mother’s flair for cookie making and not her bookmaking. He has worked almost every stage of the restaurant business, from construction to concoctions. Now he works at UC as a student/manager for Aramark.

Bob Tucker makes sure hungry UC students are well fed

“Aramark is always looking for more student/managers and workers to fill a multitude of positions in their board and retail establishments,” Bob says. He’s looking out for his fellow students’ pockets, as well as their bellies.

While his education was on hiatus after high school, Bob did a little traveling of his own. The 1960s were a great time for trips of all kinds. Bob and a high-school friend worked odd jobs around the United States before ending up in Glasgow, Montana, in search of the perfect cup of coffee. While in the process of looking for an all-night diner, Bob and his friend were stopped by the police.

“Assuredly, there is no official curfew, but good citizens of this community do not walk the streets at 12:30 a.m.,” says Bob. The two lads had $75 between them. The law required them to have $100, so they ended up in the “hoosegow” for the weekend.

“The first meal period was at 5:30 a.m.,” says Bob. “A pot of beans sat on the pot-bellied stove along with a pot of coffee until the last meal period of the day at 4:00 p.m. By that time they burnt the beans and the coffee was nearly paste-like in texture.”

Still in search of the perfect cup of coffee, Bob moved to Florida, where he lived on both its west and east coasts. He also attended chef’s school and thoroughly learned the basics of cooking. What’s his specialty? “Velouté!” he says slyly. “Sauce with a sheen.”

Recently, Bob was being considered by Aramark to work the Olympics in Athens, Greece. However, because of growing security considerations, Aramark opted for using local talent there.

Bob invites students, faculty and staff to check out the coffee at MarketPointe at Siddall Hall

Bob hopes to finish his degree in May 2006. What’s next?

“I tend to stay in one place for just a few years and then move on,” Bob says, with a wistful look in his eyes. “I think I’d like to go in a different direction now — maybe open my own human resource company in the restaurant field.” It seems Bob will be never too far from a kitchen.

This summer, you can find Bob at the MarketPointe at Siddall Hall from Friday to Sunday, covering the lunch and dinner hours. During the regular academic year, Bob is a regular at Sander Hall. Bob proudly boasts that the best chefs on campus are in Sander Hall.

But how’s his coffee? Stop by to find out.

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