By Angelina Rosado
Proud cook Allen Collins has a legacy working for Fairleigh Dickinson University for 14 years and is a fellow friend to the community of students.
Before becoming a Knights cook, Allen used to cater to the elderly at a nursing home in Oradell. However, after Allen was brought to the job by FDU’s own long-term lunch lady, Tracy Hopson, in 2006 Allen began his career as a cook at FDU Metro at the Knights Grill.
Allen values and finds comfort in the simple pleasures in life, as he spends most of his quality time outside of FDU enjoying the social scenes and entertainment with his friends, or simply indulging sci-fi comic and manga with his family during a relaxing night at home. “Like I told you. Y’all are my babies here, but I also got my babies back at home,” Allen said.
Known as the “Mother” or “Breakfast Diva” of FDU, Allen currently cooks at the Student Union Building (SUB) dining hall to serve breakfast and lunch to students, along with some smiles and laughter.
Allen brings a strong sense of Knight pride for students at the SUB, as his energetic atmosphere provides a loving space — and plate — for everyone. He even has his own classic ham, egg and cheese on a butter roll named after him, known as the Allen Special.
Caterina Tatti, a senior majoring in humanities, said, “Allen is always able to put a smile on my face with his positivity and great cooking. I love going to the SUB when he’s there, because he is so energetic and fun to be around. He always helps me out right before classes and practices with an Allen Special, no matter how late I am.”
Allen enjoys getting to know his students personally during his shifts at the SUB cafeteria, and catering to their hunger with delightful meals before class. Sweet or savory, Allen always enjoys adding an extra touch to his students’ breakfasts and lunches, which he even showcases on his Instagram.
“It’s just a blast for me. I definitely enjoy my job, I love the social atmosphere. I make work fun, to put it that way. I’m here in the mornings, stop by and get some grub!” Allen said.
Stop by the SUB cafeteria Monday through Friday from as early as 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and get to know Allen, his stories, and his food.
Allen Collins brings the positive energy while serving breakfast to FDU Students
Photo by Angelina Rosad