This guy’s no yoke: introducing the egg-celent Mr. Michael


If you’ve been to the Commons Dining Hall in the morning, chances are you’ve noticed a lengthy caravan of hungry students waiting for their omelets. So, what’s so good about them? Let’s meet the man behind the omelet station.

Enter Michael Holloway, known to students as Mr. Michael, a dining hall employee at Caf’s omelet bar. Lately, Holloway and his omelets have been gaining popularity among the student body. 

“My schedule in itself is from 6:30 [a.m.] to 2:30 [p.m.],” he said, describing his daily routine. “And when I come in, I’ve already thought about what I’m going to do beforehand, and I try to get a jump on everything, you know, try to prepare myself for the numbers.”

The rise in popularity is so extraordinary, he said, that he stopped counting the number of orders he receives in a day.

“At one point, I used to keep track of all the numbers, and I did that for like four weeks to see what the average is going to be,” he added. “And then it started, you guys started telling each other about, ‘Oh, this omelet is good. You need to try it,’ you know? So what you did was, you stopped me from counting my plates.”

According to Holloway, before the numbers started increasing, he would usually have made approximately around 180 to 220 omelets. He described the method he used to tally his record.

“What I do is I’ll put three rows [of plates], which is six [plates] in total,” Holloway said. “And I know I am over 200 and about 240 plates, just guessing. And so what I do is, I record in my mind, ‘Okay, if all those plates are gone by [11:00 a.m.], then I know I’m going into 300, 400.” 

His high score, though, was far above that number.

“At one point, when we all started back up and the station was moved from the grill area, I had made close to 600 omelets in a day,” he said.

Initially, he said he would agree to make multiple omelets for one person at a time. As the station became more well-known, though, he knew that he needed a different approach.

“You have guys that want two omelets, three omelets. And then I was making those omelets for them,” Holloway said. “But then as the word got out, and the line started increasing and increasing, I had to tell them, ‘Okay, you can only get one omelet because it’s not fair to the person that’s behind you [when] it’s 50 people back, and I’m trying to get you all through there.’ So I said, ‘You can have as many omelets as you want [but] you have to get back in the line.’”

Some students, like Eino Korpela ’25, who “1,000% approves” of Holloway, come to Caf for an omelet from him every weekday.

“All the vegetables are pretty fresh. And Mr. Michael adds a little bit of tender loving care. You can taste that flavor pretty well. Star-studded stuff. I love that guy. Always gives me a little bit [of] extra toppings on everything, so I cannot complain,” Korpela said.

This sentiment was echoed by Jack Sharp ’25.

“[In] consistency, he never fails,” Sharp said when describing what he likes about the omelets. “He loves his work, and I can have a conversation with him very often — he’s a really nice dude.”

However, while Holloway is now best known for his omelets, he first began at the College of William and Mary as a baker over thirty years ago. Indeed, to him, baking is his real passion, whereas cooking is an exhilarating challenge.

“Baking is a science. Cooking is an art,” he said. “When I started here years ago, I was a baker. Downstairs [of Caf] is where the bakery is. And then I come back here many years later. The same vibe is still there.”

And despite the frequent cooking Holloway undertakes everyday through his job, he continues to step into the chef role at home, as well as the Commons.

“I cook at home,” he said. “It doesn’t bother me. I have to eat. My schedule is Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday, I cook breakfast. On Saturday or Sunday, it alternates depending on what we’re going to do. So that’s my relaxed time.” 

Outside of the culinary arts, Holloway likes to relax with his dogs and his wife Maria at home, stressing the importance of having time to unwind when working a high-volume job. 

“Once you all get in the work field, you’re going to understand what it is. It’s all, ‘I need to go home. I need to kick back. I need to unwind for an hour and a half,’” he said.

In addition to his dog and wife, Holloway has three children: a daughter who went to nursing school, a son who runs a small business and another daughter who is now a teacher with the York County school division.

Other activities he enjoys include leisure cycling, working out in the gym, playing recreational sports, watching TV and reading the news. In the summer, he cleans pools, which allows him to make his own schedule. 

And whenever he gets the chance, he goes on vacation with his family, usually twice a year.

“When I actually stretch out is when I take trips,” Holloway said. “Usually before the pandemic, it was twice a year — twice a year to New York, twice a year to Virginia Beach. But most of the time we’re just home. Sometimes it’s safer to be home.”

Looking forward, he intends to catch up on his travel plans.

“This year is starting to go again. I finally got the nerve to go again,” he said.

A longtime beloved member of the College’s dining staff, Holloway has just one thing to say to students at the College: “Just keep coming.” 



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