Chef Stacy Roberson starts his day by getting up bright and early, seeing his wife off to work and sending his son, James, to school. “Normally, by the time you see me, I’ve been up since 5 a.m. It’s a very busy day,” Roberson said. However, his early mornings do not stop him from being his energetic self once he arrives at the cafeteria.
“Stacy has a big impact on our dining program at Northwestern College,” food service director Barry Shroeter said. “Stacy’s flair with food and charisma makes his station one of the most popular stations at mealtime.”
Roberson has been in the kitchen for nearly 40 years, and with that type of experience, it does not take him long to cook up whatever is on the menu for the day. “You’re not going to believe me when I tell you this. I walk in the door at 10 a.m., and I’m up and ready to go at 11,” Roberson said.
It takes a sort of laser focus to ensure everything is done on time and correctly. “Once I get here, I think I just go into Chef Stacy mode,” Roberson said. His ability to get into “Chef Stacy mode” results in an unforgettable experience for anyone that decides to wait in his line for one of his signature dishes.
“Every time I walk up to Stacy’s line, I expect to be greeted with a smile and some good food,” Cole Habben said. “It always seems like Stacy is in a great mood and is happy to hear about how the students are doing.”
Roberson has always had a student-centered approach. When it comes to his favorite meal to prepare or the way he interacts with students, he always puts NW students first.
“My favorite meal is whatever you want it to be,” Roberson said. “I am drawn into bringing you all in at any cost. I do not care what it is. I want you to have the best experience, the best meal, and I want to know how your day went, and what are you going to do to make someone else’s day better? Whatever that takes. If that’s chicken alfredo, bring it on. If it’s a chicken salad, and the line is all the way out to Taco John’s, bring it on.”
And to Chef Stacy, his job is about more than cooking food.“Sometimes that line can reach out 30, 40, 50, 60 people, but in a matter of 8-12 minutes, that person who left home for the very
first time met a friend, a Christian friend through Christ. They’re making memories with that who knows for how long,” Roberson said.
Roberson also takes pride in knowing he can have a lasting impact on the hundreds of students he gets to chat with daily.
“A lot of the students that graduated four, five, six, seven, eight years ago, I will run into them, and I will ask them how they’re doing and how their lives are going forward,” Roberson said. “A lot of the times when I meet a student that went here years ago, I’m very interested in what turns, what events, where has Christ taken you, and the majority of the students that I run into, they’re still following Christ. They’re still remembering the fun times and the experience at NW.”
As Roberson reflects on his time at NW, he says he is grateful for everything God blessed him with.“It’s unbelievable where God has brought me. It was not me. It was God. I am here because of God. I know that,” Roberson said. “He has a place for me, and it’s right over there in that corner hanging out and growing older. That’s my spot now, and I love it,” Roberson said.