The next time you bite into an Oscar’s Hot Burger, be sure to thank Steven O’Flynn. But when you do, don’t be offended if he doesn’t turn around when you call his name. Nicknamed “Oscar” as a boy by his childhood neighbor, O’Flynn has been answering to “Oscar” for over 40 years.
A Johnson and Wales University graduate and 28-year veteran chef, O’Flynn is no stranger to the kitchen. When he was offered a job at RIT right out of college, he expected to stay here for three or four years. He never imagined that he would still be here and still loving what he does after 28.
Inventor of the Oscar Hot Sauce and Tiger Sauce, O’Flynn has certainly made his impression on RIT. Starting as a line cook at Gracie’s, O’Flynn moved up the ranks to work at The Commons, then he was transferred to the RITz and promoted to Production Coordinator where he stayed for 24 years. Earlier this year, O’Flynn became the production coordinator for CBoards, a campus-wide nutritional database that is currently working to get all recipes standardized and categorized with nutritional facts, which will be made available to all students.
And O’Flynn says that students are what it’s all about. Over the years, his job has changed with the changing palettes of students, and when RIT went global, O’Flynn knew the food had to change as well. “When I was at the RITz, I had students bring in recipes from their mothers,” O’Flynn recalled. “We would make it [on a] larger scale and serve it. The Indian and Asian students especially appreciated it, and it was a big seller.”
O’Flynn loves his job, and his accomplishments show it. Taking a great deal of pride in his work, O’Flynn admires what the dining service at RIT has become during his years here. On the food at RIT versus other campuses, O’Flynn said, “There is just no comparison. If you’ve been anywhere else, you know.”
O’Flynn said that he couldn’t ask for a better career. He met his wife on his first day at RIT, but recalled, “We didn’t get along for about six months.” Overall, it is the students that O’Flynn loves most about his job. “The best part of working here is meeting so many new people over the years,” O’Flynn said. “I’ve been here a long time, and I’ve seen a lot come and go. Things seem to just keep getting better and better.”