Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Trevor at the Bistro: Chef extraordinaire with a big heart

DIANA ROSE SMITH ’19

STAFF WRITER

I sat down at the Bistro with a small cup of soup, listening to the music coming from a small boombox that rested on the counter. A man in a pink shirt danced in front of the stoves, his black apron tied loosely behind him. He was singing along to the blaring pop songs while he made my sandwich. When he turned around he beamed at me and told me to “have a great rest of my day.” This was my first impression of Trevor at the Bistro. I could tell he brightened everyone’s day with his joy and laughter. It prompted me to sit down with Trevor and learn about his life, both in and out of Trinity College.

Trevor grew up here in Hartford and truly loved it. He graduated in 1985 from Hartford Public High School, and  he remembers playing football on Trinity’s field during high school. When he was 16, he worked at Chuck’s Cellar as a dishwasher. As time went on, he moved up in the kitchen until he was the one running it. He ended up running Chuck’s kitchen for over six years. After that, he began working at different part-time jobs and then started working at the Bistro. Now, Trevor has been a part of Trinity’s family for 16 years, starting back in January of 2000. He told me about how different the Bistro was back then. When he first came to Trinity, the Bistro had tables and burners set up in the hallways. The lines ran through the hallway and out the door. Laughing at memories of the ridiculousness of it all,  he reflected on how long ago he began working at Trinity, joking that he is “waiting for the day when he remembers serving the parent of one of the freshmen.”

Trinity has become a home away from home for Trevor. He has grown up with his coworkers and has watched their kids grow up. His face lit up when he talked about his family of Trinity staff. He had a kind of glowing happiness about him that I could feel from across the table. “I just love coming to work,” he said. His favorite thing about Trinity, however, would have to be the students. He loves cracking jokes with the students that come by his station every day. “The students are so warm and I just want to let them relax and loosen up after their stressful day,” he explained. “I just want to be here and work for the students. For you guys.”

Most people may know Trevor as the guy at the Bistro who is always dancing and blasting music through his boombox. When I asked him about his favorite music, he told me there wasn’t a kind of music he didn’t like. He said he could listen to anything, but if he had to choose, R&B would have to be at the top of his list, explaining to me that R&B feels like storytelling. He always enjoys listening to the stories of love and life that R&B musicians sing about. However, Trevor also likes listening to pop music,  fondly remembering listening to 96.5 with his brother when he was younger.

Next to music, Trevor also loves making and eating good food. When he first started at the Bistro, he worked at the Infusion station and cooked steaks and pasta for the students. He told me how he “found his calling” making grilled sandwiches. Something about the process of creating makes them his favorite food to cook. He watches the Food Network as much as possible to get new ideas for sandwiches and to see what other chefs are creating. Right now, Trevor’s “special sandwich” is a steak, egg and bacon sandwich.

Outside of Trinity, Trevor is still a pretty busy and happy-go-lucky kind of guy. He loves to dance when he goes out with his girlfriend. They go out together to different restaurants, too, and try new foods and recipes. He also enjoys going out with his coworkers as much as possible after work. Equally as important to him are his sports teams: He often goes into New York City to see a Yankees game or a basketball game. His favorite football team is the Cowboys, and even hopes to move to Texas at some point in the future.

At the end of my interview with Trevor, I asked him what he would like the students to know about him. He smiled and said the thing that would make him happiest would be to get to know the students that come through the Bistro. He loves working for Trinity and loves all the kids. He wants students to joke with him, laugh with him, and invite him out with them. He enjoys talking to the students as they walk through and wants them to know that someone cares about them. He loves remembering everyone’s order. “It brings a smile to someone’s face when I already know what kind of sandwich they want, and that brings a smile to mine,” he said.

Trevor also wanted the students to know how things have changed at the Bistro. He told me how they used to have “Late Night at the Bistro” and how great of an experience that was. It was a time for him to bond with the students and for students to bond with each other. When the dining hours changed, they took away this late night dining option. Trevor said he misses that and hopes the students do too. He also misses the Bistro being open on weekends and serving food while people watch the various sports games on Saturdays. Trevor told me: “If the kids want things like that to happen again, they need to speak up — that is the only way things will change.” He is there working for us — for Trinity’s students — and wants everyone to know he always is looking out for them.

I felt honored to talk to this man who cares so much about his job and the people he serves. His boundless cheerfulness and love for Trinity’s students was simply amazing to see. Hearing about Trinity from his perspective was great. He is truly an inspiring person and someone everyone should get to know. Stop by the Bistro, say hi, take a break from your busy day to smile and joke with Trevor at the Bistro.

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