Just one show from the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus has over 300 performers and crew traveling all over the country. And those people have to eat.
When they do, they all go to see Matt Loory, a nice Jewish boy from Orlando who found a way to combine his loves of cooking and the circus.
The Jewish Week wrote recently of how Loory chose a career in food, opting out of the office jobs in television production held by many in his family. Loory was educated at Le Cordon Bleu, and went to work in a local kitchen with lots of opportunities to advance. But when he learned of the opening at The Greatest Show on Earth, he knew he had to go for it. Lorry, now 23, says he has attended the circus every year since he was 3.
After just two months, Loory was elevated to manager when his predecessor unexpectedly left. He now finds himself working 17-hour days to provide round-the-clock sustenance for the group. Workers must pay for food, but it’s subsidized, with dinner costing from $5-10.
Loory operates out of The Pie Car Sr., a train car that is part of the circus’ massive, mile-long train. He also has Pie Car Jr., a food truck to actually drive to locations of performances.
The young chef was raised loving not only food and the circus, but with a strong religious background. But now, Loory finds himself as one of just eight Jews in the traveling community, which brings together people from at least 20 countries. But Loory has found some ways to maintain his religious life while on the road: he is planning a seder for Pesach, and made it to Kol Nidre services in Kansas City last year, accompanied by the show’s accountant.
“Pretty much everybody else who is Jewish actually works in the show, so they couldn’t come with us, but we could escape, and at least get there,” he said.