Here on Afterword we’ll be featuring regular interviews with UVM campus personalities, professors and administrators. First up is Charlie Cunningham, otherwise known as the Falafel guy at the Davis Center.
Last Thursday we were lucky enough to hang out and eat lunch with Charlie at the Davis center. He artfully prepared falafels while we asked him a few questions.
Derrick & Ryan: How long have you worked at UVM?
Charlie: I Started in 2001 over in the Simpson dining hall bakery. Eventually moved over to the Marche and now I’m here at the Davis Center.
D&R: What do you love about working at UVM?
C: I get to make a positive impact on student’s lives through something I really love to do and it places me where I can advocate for my own lifestyle. It’s also awesome to interact with students.
D&R: How did you get your start in falafel making?
C: I got going when I was on a Grateful Dead tour in the eighties. Immediately I was hooked! I started selling them out of my van at every show. My recipes are inspired by an old restaurant in Vermont called Horn of the Moon.
D&R: What was your first concert?
C: I caught a ride with UVM ride share to Hartford Connecticut for…yes…a Grateful Dead show, when I was still in high school.
D&R: Where did you grow up?
C: I was born right here in Burlington. Grew up in the area, and went to school (K-12) in Essex Junction. Now I live in Jeffersonville.
D&R: What keeps you in Vermont?
C: I’m not much of a city guy. There’s something about the open air and rural landscape here…you can’t beat it.
D&R: What’s your summer like?
C: I work at Common Ground summer camp in Starksboro Vermont in the bakery. Someday I would love to start my own bakery. I’ve had an idea for a while now to call it Working Man’s Bread.
D&R: As a dedicated Grateful Dead follower, are you a fan of Phish?
C: Kind of. To be honest, when I first saw them, I thought they sucked [laughs], and I mean that was because they were just starting out. Like any band, they had growing to do. I saw them at Slade Hall. The band members and I are basically the same age so I’d see them around town. It’s great that they’ve become such a good band. I even dated the same woman Jon Fishman did back in the day. At separate times, of course.
D&R: Do you have any other favorite bands?
C: I really love Neil Young and Steely Dan.
D&R: Who’s your celebrity crush?
C: Christopher Walken! And for local celebs, I’d say Rally Cat. I always thought it’d be fun for us to get into a tussle right on campus. I think I could take him. He used to be named Charlie, so it seemed like a good idea that we square off.
D&R: If you could be one building on campus, what would you be?
C: Definitely Slade Hall.