‘Pizza Guy’ grabbing attention in Stewart

Jack Magargee

New addition to cafeteria staff adds unique options to the pizza grill.

Mr. Derek Ellis is his name, and making great food is his game.

Mr. Derek Ellis
Mr. Derek Ellis

Picture this: A group of juniors walk out of their dreary AP exam. Trying to kill time before they have to go to class, they walk into Stewart Hall.

These students aren’t very hungry. That is until they see a kid eating what looks to be mozzarella sticks on pizza. In a state of excitement, they hustle up to buy this pizza and leave without any regrets.

Mozzarella stick pizza is one of Ellis’s many masterpieces. Another highlight is buffalo mac ‘n cheese pizza.

Such interesting pizzas have caught the attention of student body, but don’t limit Ellis to just pizza.

“He also makes a great bread pudding,” Mr. Tom Gray, Head of Dining Services said. Gray also said Derek’s Carolina Barbeque Sauce is ‘phenomenal.’

But who is the man behind the food?

Ellis is recently out of culinary school. He’s filling in for Mr. Vince Long of the Dining Services Department while Long is recovering from a surgery.

Ellis’s pizzas are different than pizzas most students traditionally eat. He attributes their success to his freshness in the industry and his age.

“I’m young. I’m 20 years old, I just graduated from culinary school, so I can relate to kids,” Ellis said. “You can put anything on pizza, to be honest,” he said.

Gray was supportive of Ellis’s unorthodox pizza topping ideas. “They were some funny pizzas. I thought yeah, sure, why not?” Gray said.

Ellis’s ideas have been succeeding so far as shown by the hype around them. Students call his pizzas ‘crazy’ because of their original approach.

Gray’s thoughts were brief.

“He’s a young guy and he eats a lot of pizza,” he said.