It turns out the Muffin Man doesn’t live on Drury Lane, but is instead among the student body of UNC Charlotte. Someone has to bake all the chocolate chip cookies for Crown Commons, rolls from Fiesty’s and bagels from Peet’s. That someone is Joseph Torcasso, UNC Charlotte’s own Muffin Man.
Every morning at 5 a.m., Torcasso, executive pastry chef for Chartwells, bakes all the pastries to send out to Crown Commons, Residence Dining Hall, Outtakes and Peet’s. By 6 a.m., Torcasso has sent these pastries across campus. For the rest of the day, he prepares the dough for the pastries he will make the next day. Torcasso works from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. every week day, prepping and baking non-stop. “I’m like a machine,” he says.
Fiesty’s uses over 3,000 rolls a week for their hot dogs and Crown Commons serves pastries to nearly 3,500 students a day, all fresh from Torcasso’s kitchen.
Torcasso also caters for all on-campus events, including student and organization functions, bake sales and other campus events.
Although Torcasso is, as he says, “a machine,” he doesn’t work alone. He has two baking assistants, Sam and Eddie, who have been with him for two and three years, respectively. The three of them work as a trio, working throughout the day to get students their fill of cookies, breads, bagels and muffins. Torcasso says, “I have no down time,” but he says he likes to keep busy.
Torcasso says his favorite part of baking is cake decorating, which perhaps stemmed from his past as an art student. He decorates cakes that can be purchased through Chartwells catering services.
Torcasso has been at UNC Charlotte for six years and says the Chartwells kitchen has “become a home.”
The new Residence Dining Hall, opening on the south side of campus in 2013, will allow Torcasso to bake behind an open counter where students will be able to watch him and five new baking assistants work. “I’m looking forward to the new building,” he says.
The muffin man may not live on Drury Lane, but he is familiar with Craver Road.