Duane Bonifer  |   Published October 17, 2017

Penny the Omelet Lady’

McVey honored for service to Monmouth students

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Penny McVey is one of the first people most Monmouth College students see every morning. Affectionately known by students as “Penny the Omelet Lady,” McVey has made omelets in the College’s Stockdale Student Center dining room for the last nine school years.

She makes about 110 omelets a day during the school year, which translates into more than 165,000 homemade omelets over the last nine years.

Earlier this month, McVey was honored for her outstanding service to Monmouth students when she was named a recipient of the prestigious Ring of Stars Award, which is presented by the Aramark Corp., the company that runs Monmouth’s food services.

The Ring of Stars Award is given to only 200 of Aramark’s more than 240,000 worldwide employees for demonstrating outstanding customer service.

“I love serving the students,” said McVey, who received the award in early October at an Aramark gathering in Phoenix. “I like to hear how their day is going, plus I really enjoy cooking. I don’t just enjoy cooking for the students, but I also enjoy cooking for my kids and for my grandkids.”

A Monmouth native whose great-grandmother also cooked at the College, McVey joined the Monmouth staff in 1993 and then returned in 2006 after leaving for about a year. She’s cooked omelets since 2008.

In addition to breaking a few eggs, McVey said cooking the perfect omelet involves a few other key ingredients.

“Cut your vegetables and meats small, have a warm skillet to start with and also a lot of tender-loving care,” she said.

But McVey sees cooking as only part of her job. She also serves as an unofficial counselor and adviser to some students, and she’s given a few seniors five-ingredient cookbooks to help them after they graduate from Monmouth.

“As they come through the line, you can tell if they’re having a bad day,” she said. “If the students come through the line and they are having a bad day, they can express that to me. I just kind of let them vent. All of these students are just like my grandkids. Each individual one comes in, we have a chit-chat. Each one gets treated with individual care. And I enjoy having them come in to eat breakfast because breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it gets their body ready for the day and for studying.”

McVey said she hopes that her omelets will do more than simply feed Monmouth students.

“We try to make our students happy because if they are happy, they get good grades, and if they get good grades, they will graduate, and then they will come back and see us,” she said.

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