A typical morning at the NovaCare Complex is not complete without a trip to the cafeteria. Take just one step into the dining area. You are warmly greeted by the aromas of bacon, eggs, sausage, pancakes, waffles, fresh fruit, and various pastries, along with the ambient sounds of spatulas clanging against a flat-top grill.
The person behind the spatulas is none other than Tim Lopez, who matches the cafeteria’s warm greeting with an even warmer smile. Lopez is one of many talented chefs looking to make everyone in the organization’s day a little better with a good meal, but every morning he’s the main person on the grill taking orders.
Lopez then goes to work by cracking open a couple of fresh eggs and delicately sprinkling on the ingredients of turkey bacon, cheese, tomatoes, and mushrooms. He mixes it all with spatulas that he wields like a maestro conducting a culinary symphony. The omelet is hot off the grill but executed with cold-blooded precision. It was like an artist practicing their craft.
The thing is that I wasn’t special, as Lopez did the same for everyone in the organization. Whatever their usual was, he knew it. No matter who the person was, Lopez made sure that person was taken care of.
However, Lopez won’t have to remember any of the Eagles’ usual requests anymore. After 13 years, he is moving on to become a Chef Instructor at Jules E. Mastbaum Vocational Technical High School in Philadelphia, making him one of the Eagles’ biggest offseason departures that no one outside of the NovaCare Complex talks about.
To those inside of the building, however, Lopez’s bright and exuberant presence will be sorely missed.
It was one of the best experiences of my life, Lopez said during a recent episode of the Eagles Insider Podcast about working with the team.
That organization and the people, the players, the coaches, the front office staff, the chefs I got to work with, everybody I encountered, it fundamentally shaped my life, he added. It made a huge difference in who I am as a person and as a chef, and I was never happier than when I was cooking with those people and for the Philadelphia Eagles football team.