Pioneer Caterers welcomed Chef Tom in October of last year; since then, he has brought his culinary expertise and fresh ideas to the table for Geneva College.

Tom has worked in the restaurant business for almost 40 years. He started in the field as a dishwasher, and in his 20’s went to culinary school. Over the years he has worked in a wide array of restaurants and catering businesses such as AVI, Fed Ex Ground, Slippery Rock University, Shakespeares (as executive chef), and many others across the Pittsburgh area.
Tom likes that he lives nearby campus, as that gives him more time to spend with his family. His meal ideas offer a diverse pallet that appeals to the student body, keeping in mind those with allergies. He wants to increase the selections for gluten and non-gluten diets alike.

Tom approaches his work with versatility, care, and an open-mindedness which leaves room for changes and adjustments. He said in a recent interview, “I love what I do. I can’t make anything halfway…we are student dining; we aren’t fine dining, but at the same time there’s no reason they can’t have a flavorful meal within our budget. It’s all about the students for us.”
Pioneer Caterers has seen many exciting additions and changes since he has started working, through his ideas and the ideas of other members of the team. For example, soon tofu will be an option in the noodle bar section.

Clayton Cappellanti, director of food service, runs monthly food committee meetings where he and other committee members ask for feedback and ideas—all of which have been helpful to Pioneer.

They also started making their own chicken breast for the Brigadoon salad line.

Their primary focus has been to introduce more variety to the students, and Clayton believes the changes have been good and that students have been happier with the larger amount of options. He states, “Growth doesn’t happen because it’s easy; growth happens because you’re made to learn new things and to expand your horizons.”