More than pizza for Elliot

Elliot Avery cuts into his latest creation at Huden.

In Huden Dining Hall, there are multiple options to choose from. There’s a main course each day, grilled food, sub line, salad and fruit bar – and last but not least – the Italian cuisine corner.

From pizza to pasta, bread sticks to garlic knots, there are a lot of different items to choose from.

During lunch at Huden, there are pizzas made with different bases and toppings, a mix and match of new things to try.

And the man behind it all is Elliot Avery.

On a recent day with his groovy ‘90s music bumping in the background of his station, Avery was putting masterpiece pizzas together. With great vibes and energy, he said he makes all his pizzas with a hint of “love.”

Avery is the only African American male on staff at Huden. He grew up in North Carolina, where he said he had to deal with racism and segregation at an early age. He said he was tired of fighting, so he decided it was time to leave the south. Having dealt with a lot of unpleasant encounters, he built a mentality of rolling with the punches and taking unfortunate situations to the chin.

And, he said, he’s built his life off respect.

“That’s just how I was raised. I would have friends of other races and my mother would tell me to bring them in with me if there was food and drinks,” he said with a smile.

But chatting with him, you can tell that all he’s been through still bothers him.

“I don’t care if you’re black, white, tall, or fat I don’t care. Everything I do is for y’all, the students,” he said.

Avery moved to Vermont at age 22 where he met his wife and shortly after had two kids. His kids offer him perspective for dealing with college students at Castleton.

“Castleton is a good school; I wouldn’t mind my kids going here,” he said.

He also said he’s “all about the students” and open to any new ideas they bring to him for his Italian cuisine corner.

In Huden, he is already a student favorite. Multiple Students have said that he makes the best food and pizza.

Castleton student Brendon Driskel is still waiting for a second chance at Elliot’s chicken alfredo pizza.

“He made an alfredo-based pizza, and it was amazing. I went back to tell him to make it again. I’m still waiting for my next slice,” Driskel said.

Julian Chiemingo-Rivera, another student, also praised Avery’s work.

“The only time I eat pizza is when Elliot is there. He makes it with heart, and he has a great vibe all the time,” he said.

But the pizza is just a fraction of why students are so fond of Avery.

“You can tell he puts a lot of effort and passion into what he does, and you can see he sees it as something bigger than just food,” said student Chris Lewis, when asked about Elliot’s cooking.

Avery said he doesn’t use any extra or different ingredients in his food, but there’s something else.

“I put love in my food,” he said.

It’s bigger than just pizza to him.

Elliot Avery interacts with a student at Huden Dining Hall.

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