Chef’s got jokes

Lane cook reflects on his year on the line

Nathan Calkins // The Torch
Tim Hannigan shows passion for his job and even more for the students.

Just another day in the Titan Food Court, where silverware clinks and students study while enjoying their meals. On the other side of the counter is Tim Hannigan.

Hannigan, head chef at Campus Burgers as well as New Leaf and Lime Fresh stations in the food court, is known around campus as a goofball. Born and raised in Springfield, when it was just a small logging town, Tim has always believed in providing great food and even better service.

“I started as a dishwasher when I was 16 and I have been doing it since. I’ve gone from place to place learning what I can and getting the most of everything. I have never gone to culinary school, but it is something that I love to do,” Hannigan said.

Hannigan was working at Wild Duck catering in Eugene when a co-worker, Mat Kline, the former dean of the culinary program at Lane, called and offered him a job at Lane. Hannigan had worked with Kline in Arizona but had not heard from him for over a decade before he received the phone call.

“I had not heard from Mat in over twelve years, so to get that phone call,” Hannigan said. “The funny thing is he had been a line cook for me when I was a sous chef in Arizona, so I had been his boss. I guess it’s just one of those things I’ve kind of always tried to do is leave a good lasting impression on whoever because you never know what’s going to happen.”

“It was a great opportunity,” Hannigan said about his job at Lane. “It’s a great job to have and I love being around people. I love the interactions and I love to have fun and it seemed like a good place to do it. I like to brighten people’s day here, especially in an environment like this where it is stressful for students. They have a lot going on and if I can bring a smile to someone’s face, then I have done right.”

Many of Hannigan’s co-workers say how much fun it is to work with him.

“Everyday he starts with a smile. As long as you know Tim is here, you know you are going to have a good time,” said his co-worker Robert Toler, a chef at Lime Fresh, who met Hannigan six years ago when Hannigan was working at Wild Duck Catering. “Work goes by so much smoother when he is around. He puts a smile in everybody’s heart. He works incredibly hard and expects nothing less from you. He is just a real down-to-earth kind of guy.”

“He has always been good at entertaining. When he sees people having a bad day, he will go out of his way to make them smile. I’ve known Tim for a long time and he and I joke around all the time. He is a jokester, but he also knows when to be professional and does his job very well,” co-worker Jason Taylor said. .

“Tim tends to bring a lot of happiness to everyone’s day. He make everybody smile, makes them feel good about themselves and he jokes around with you. He is just a great guy,” Kaitlin, a music major at Lane, who knows Hannigan on a personal level, said.

Hannigan will have worked at Lane for a year in February, and in that time he has made a lasting impression on the students and staff that have come to know him. When some students did not have enough money for their meals, he said, he sometimes would put in the rest. In fact, he does this as often as he can. He says he tries to utilize the food instead of throwing it in the recycle bin. “It would be better served for the students,” he said.