Everson prepares one of many omelets for eager dining hall patrons. Photo by Ian Feldmann.
The phrase “a labor of love,” rings true when it comes to the work of Corey Everson. The experience of weekday breakfast-goers at the True Grit’s Dining Hall would not be complete without eating an omelet or scrambled eggs made by this master chef. Everson prepares orders for two and a half hours, every Monday through Friday. He approaches each day with patience and dedication — to his craft and to students.
This starts when he wakes up at 5 a.m., arrives at the dining hall at 6 a.m. and greets the students that begin to come in at 7 a.m. for breakfast, including several regulars. Everson works from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every weekday, even during the snow.
A lifelong Baltimorean and a sports fan, Everson wears a lanyard with a Ravens logo and remembers when the Orioles used to play on 33rd Street in the 1970’s. He has tattoos and a few gold teeth. While he said that this would initially sometimes turn students off, they may have had judgments before getting to know him. Indeed, his nickname is Yogi Bear, after the cartoon, because “everyone says I’m too nice.”
Everson knows the names and orders of regulars and always makes sure to tell them if one of their preferred ingredients isn’t available on a given day. One of these regulars, Thomas, has been coming to the omelet station since his freshman year. He is now a senior and thinks that the options available at the omelet station are not only healthy, but also very delicious. Everson also enjoys knowing that the food he prepares is fresh: “I like that the kids see that you’re making the food for them.”
Clive, a sophomore, eats at the omelet station regularly. He likes that the omelets provide an “all in one” meal that covers many food groups. Regulars at the omelet station also praised the scrambled eggs that Everson prepares. The master chef skillfully cracks each egg separately, the yolks and whites beginning to bubble as they hit the hot, oiled surface of the griddle. The eggs are cracked just next to the ingredients which they accompany, and Everson flips and sculpts them into a soft collection of scrambled eggs.
During the breakfast rush, sounds of Proactiv MD or Lipozene commercials on a nearby television are interspersed with calls of “1, 2, 3 …” Everson developed the system that currently exists, where each patron is designated with a number and he calls out the number when their order is ready. Many patrons hold out their plates, and exchange “thank yous” and “you’re welcomes” with Everson.
Carl, a senior, visits the omelet station every morning. He first came to the omelet station towards the end of Spring 2018 and has kept coming back since then. He enjoys saying good morning to Everson and seeing how he’s doing. Both Thomas and Clive also said that they enjoy seeing Everson whenever they frequent they omelet station and this sentiment is reciprocated.
Everson appreciates the nice comments which he receives from students. “See how everybody know[s] me,” he said during a brief lull in the morning rush. “They be [sic] happy to see me.” The master chef has become connected with many people throughout the 16 years he has worked at UMBC. Though he is sad to see students leave, it’s also good to see them graduate.
Everson grew up in the Park Heights neighborhood of Baltimore and still does. He described his experience living in the city, saying, “it’s how you make it. Live a positive life, good things will happen to you.” He enjoys his neighborhood and spending time with friends and family — including his two sons and his two-year-old cat, Sadie. Everson describes himself as a laid back guy who watches Judge Judy and Judge Mathis after he leaves work.
But at work, Everson pays attention to even the smallest detail. He removes the smallest of stray ingredients from an order of scrambled eggs. He organizes the ingredients for each order in separate piles on the griddle. He makes sure that any leftover ingredients are scraped into the crevice in-between the hot griddle and the edge of the surface.
Everson is prepared to face long lines of hungry patrons and never loses his cool. While working, he finds time to chat with students and coworkers, while still remembering every order precisely. Whether you’re an omelet station regular or a newcomer, Everson treats you with the same patience, respect and kindness that he will give to anyone. As students leave the dining hall, Everson will call out to them, “see you later,” and they know they’ll come back tomorrow.
Written by Madeline Ross, Political Science Major, Class of 2020
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled ‘Judge Mathis.’ This has been corrected.