The south end of the cut of the 36
coaches. Car 181 is the "Pie Car" or diner where train occupants
can eat and meet socially during moves. "Pie Car, Jr." is a
trailer equipped to serve food at the arena between performances on
multi-performance days. Personnel who do not go to the arena,
like train crew, eat in the Pie Car as well as other folks who are on
the train at meal time. Some private accommodations have their
own cooking facilities. Some performers and supporting crew
travel by trailer or motorhome ahead of the train and park on the arena
grounds. Over 200 people live on the train during a two-year,
Ringling provided the following information about Executive Chef Matt
Pie Car Manager – Blue Unit
This Atlanta-born Pie Car Manager —
who considers his hometown Longwood, FL — admits that the craziest
thing he ever did was running away to join the circus. One of the
youngest Pie Car Managers in Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®
history, Matt Loory has another claim to fame: biking across Georgia
Matt applied to Ringling. Bros.® after
learning about a job opening from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary
Arts in Orlando, where he graduated with Honors in 2012. The rest is
history. Matt now enjoys cooking and seeing the country in ways most of
the world will never know, all on the largest privately-owned train in
Matt has always enjoyed cooking, and
one of his most treasured memories is whipping up meals for the Jewish
holidays with his mother. His foodie mentors include Gordon Ramsay,
Chef Jenna Schreiber and Danny Justiniano.
Cooking for the crew of over 300 at
The Greatest Show On Earth® isn’t the biggest crowd he’s cooked for;
Matt has also prepared amazing cuisines for the Epcot Food and Wine
Festival with Chef Christopher Prosperi of Metro Bis.
While traveling the U.S., Matt enjoys
finding great local restaurants in each city and sneaking off to local
farmers’ markets to find ingredients for the Pie Car.
Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment
SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA - August
1, 2014. Matt Loory, Pie Car/Food Service Manager, was kind
enough to grant me a telephone interview. My first question for
Matt was to find out how many cars are in the
just-short-of-a-mile-mile-long circus train. ssagner@nydailynews
reported in February that it was a 50-car train, which I knew was
wrong. Matt listed the consist as: 36 coaches, 19 flats, 2
container cars, and 4 animal cars. That totals 61 cars in the
Blue Unit Circus train. [I had heard that the coastal route
between LA and San Jose had a siding limit of 59 cars and that the Blue
Unit would not be taking that route with its current length.]
Matt confirmed earlier information such as their being one car with two
cooks for the Chinese troop of performers. He also confirmed that
no Pie Car Jr. is needed at the arena in Anaheim because there is food
service at the arena.
There are five employees under Matt that prove all the food service for
I asked if he takes advantage of regional products as they traverse the
country as I know private car chefs do. Matt says he always has a
$6 main line menu and it usually includes regional specialties which he
acquires from local farmers' markets. He always has the standard
favorite cheeseburgers, hamburgers, chicken wings, etc.
I asked who he orders food to stock his pantry from when in
Anaheim. He said Sysco, which I am familiar with. He says
he can call back to the home office to get the vendors they have used
in the past in each city. He had mentioned with other reporters
that one difficulty with being in so many cities was the inability of
food delivery trucks being able to find where the train was tied
up. He says they often call and say they are at the station, but
the circus train never ties up at a station, so further directions are
repeated to new drivers.
Finally, I asked what interaction he, as the Pie Car Manager, has with
the Train Master. Matt said the spotting of the Pie Car, with its
side delivery door, must be where the door is not blocked by a pole or
such that the food trucks cannot unload into the Pie Car. Also,
the Pie Car must be spotted on the outside set of tracks, with a road
next it for the food deliveries to be made by truck. Matt also
has to be sure that food is available for the train crew who might be
ending a 14-hour day of loading or unloading. Even though the
performers might eat at the arena from the Pie Car Jr., the train crew
is always at the train and needs to be fed there.
Thank you, Matt, for taking the time in your very busy and long day to
allow me to interview you, and I look forward to seeing you in two
years as you return to Anaheim.
Alisa Newman of OC Family interview Matt and learned:
"he says his biggest challenge is chasing down those food delivery
"over 18 different countries represented and over 20 different
languages spoken by the circus performers... #1 top seller is ...A good
ol’ cheeseburger! I... many other food items are offered including
chicken sandwiches and hot dogs...his signature Asian inspired meatloaf
with wasabi mashed potatoes ...and his fried rice with sweet chili
"his favorite types of foods are ...Breakfast foods"
"The circus train has 2 kitchens called the “pie carts” [sic]
(Alisa it is Pie "Car"). desserts From cheesecakes to key lime pie,
chocolate chip cookies, and their top selling dessert- the “fudgy
wudgy” chocolate cake- "
Short Video of Matt in the Pie Car: http://nydn.us/NsvexA
Highlights from an interview by Stan Sagner NEW YORK DAILY
NEWS Monday, February 24, 2014, 4:44 PM
Head Chef for Ringling Bros
Some chefs feel like they cook for a bunch of clowns, but in Matt
Loory’s case, he actually does. Not to mention trapeze artists, lion
tamers, jugglers and acrobats.
Loory is the head chef for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum &
Bailey Circus’ employee-only dining car — a central gathering point on
the 50-car caravan that roams the country 48 weeks per year, as it has
The demanding role of preparing 1,500 meals per week keeps Loory
and his five-person team busy nearly 24/7. A typical day starts with
breakfast prep at 5:30 a.m. and can wind down at 2 a.m. after a brutal
triple-show day by the 300 performers and crew.
“We are a rolling city without a zip code,” he says. “The job is
never-ending. When not cooking, we’re planning menus, shopping and
getting ready for the next move.”
At each new stop, trucks make deliveries to the so-called “Pie
Car” — the name refers either to the circus’ early days of only serving
sweet or savory pies, or an abbreviation of the old term, “Prime
Individuals and Employees,” which established a “velvet rope” area for
circus elite who didn’t have to eat in the tent with the rest of the
The kitchen’s daily output includes at least two fully composed
meals including protein, starch, veggies and a drink. One meal gets
served onboard the train, the other is carted to the venue for the
performers to eat on the fly.
No one is allowed to eat in their costumes. “You don’t want
to get stew on your leotard,” Loory says.
The kitchen also operates as a full-time diner whipping up deli
sandwiches, hot dogs and ever-popular cheeseburgers.
“These guys burn it off faster than they can eat it,” Loory says
of the high-calorie fare. “Surprisingly, the Chinese female acrobats
seem to love the cheeseburgers the most. They can’t get enough.”
Loory has mastered preparing a lot of food in a very short time in
“We fell short one day and I had to make goulash in the fly for 50
people in about 45 minutes,” he says.
One peril, though: cooking on a moving train. “I tried to boil a
big pot of soup once and ended up wearing it. Not fun,” he says. The
car uses magnetic “induction” burners to avoid the fire hazard of
cooking with an open flame.
Loory, a former Target security guard, got his start as a
short-order cook before heading to culinary school. As a freshly minted
graduate of Florida’s Le Cordon Bleu, he happened to spot an online
posting last year for line cook positions with “The Greatest Show on
Loory, an intrepid traveler who first flew unaccompanied at age 3
thanks to some fudged paperwork, leapt at the opportunity to roam the
country while pursuing his passion to cook. But a mere month into the
job, his boss left, putting Loory, a green apprentice, in charge.
Loory and his crew attempt to bring a taste of home for hundreds
of occasionally homesick performers from 18 countries ranging from
Argentina to Uzbekistan.
“Sometimes it’s a hit, sometimes ... not so much,” he says. “We
try to recreate some of the flavors that the performers miss: curries,
Mongolian hot pot, Brazilian food. The performers never fail to let us
know how we did, but they do appreciate the effort.”
Life on the rails isn’t too glorious — yes, Loory has his own
space, but it’s 1/6 of a train car — but he does get one genuine perk
on his birthday.
“This is a circus,” Loory says. “No matter who you are — including
the owner, if the clowns get wind of the fact it’s your birthday,
you’re getting pied in the face.”
Everyone else gets a shaving cream pie, not a whipped cream
version, mostly to keep the costumes from turning rancid. But Loory,
ever the chef, requests his with the real thing.
The second cut from the south end with RBBX 60001 Shop Car at the end.
RBBX 60001 - (ex-RBX 70, exx-UP
904274, nee-5749) LW mail storage rblt. to shop car. (SKIP'S RR DEPOT)
It was getting close to time for David to take his 1 pm passengers to
the venue as I passed RBBX 41308, a House Car.
RBBX 41308 - (ex-RBX 46, exx-NJT
5437, exxx-PC 1512, exxxx-PRR, exxxxx-8268 John Pitcarin, nee-8268 Lima
Inn) Budd 21 Rmt rblt. to commuter coach, conv. to house car. (RR -
I missed seeing the 1 pm bus return to the arena, but spied a worker
under a house car servicing the loo ahead as I passed House Car
RBBX 41309 - (ex-RBX 53, exx-NJT
5403, exxx-PC 3239, exxxx-PRR 1497, nee-N&W Duke University) Budd
smooth side 10 Rmt - 6 DBR rblt. to commuter coach, conv. to house car.
(RR - FALLEN FLAGS)
Nice vehicle that travels with the train. Its purpose is to
service the Donnikers.
(For a definition of "Donniker", check my 2009 Circus Vocabulary
The loo crew travels in a trailer
rather than living on the train. With him in the trailer are his
wife and three girls. They like being able to see famous places
as they travel around the USA. Most employees join the circus in
Florida where they have a huge facility. Both trains return to
the Florida location for about a month in winter.
The Ringling Bros. and Barnum &
Bailey Circus' Blue Unit "Legends" performance, July 25, 2014.
The Asian elephants have been with
the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus for 130 years.
The circus even maintains a conservation and reproduction center.
You can learn more about the center at: elephantcenter.com
You can pick up your tickets as
early as 1 1/2 hrs. before the performance time. This gives you
time to visit the Animal Open House, an outside area where you can view
the performing animals before they go on stage such as elephants, big
cats, horses, and smaller animals that will be in the show.
If you have heard about abuse of the
elephants, you might be interested in the court judgment in 2012:
"McLEAN, Va. (AP) — The parent company of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum
& Bailey Circus has received a nearly $16 million settlement from a
number of animal-rights groups, including the Humane Society of the
United States, ending a 14-year legal battle initiated over unproven
allegations of mistreated elephants." From:
The court judgment is at http://www.ringlingbrostrialinfo.com/
This is your chance to get up close and personal with the
performers. Since many performers are from foreign countries, I
like to ask them where they are from and they seem proud to announce
their home country.
The "All Access Pre-Show Experience."
Promptly one hour before the performance, everyone is invited inside
the arena, and down on the arena floor for the "All Access Pre-Show
Yours Truly with Jesse Pike during the Preshow.
A program from the performance
allows you to identify cast members, learn their names, then look them
up on the Ringling.com "Clown Alley" page and the Internet to learn
more about them.
The following bio. for Jesse Pike is from the Ringling site: http://www.ringling.com/ContentPage.aspx?id=47808&parentID=1467&assetFolderID=1473
Talk about a nutty professor! Throughout his life, Jesse Pike
has had two passions: inventing and clowning. In an ideal world, he’d
be able to combine the two, but for now he’s content, if not thrilled,
to be part of Clown Alley. Born in Point Pleasant, NJ, Jesse always had
aspirations of super clown-dom, dressing as one every Halloween from
age 5 to 13. In 2012, he graduated from Pennsylvania College of
Technology with a degree in Plastic and Polymer Engineering Technology.
Even now, he finds ways of putting it to good use by experimenting with
new methods of clowning, stunts, pratfalls and gags. Jesse attributes
his skill in physical comedy to professionals like Jim Carrey and his
“flexible face” to older sister, Juliana. “My sister and I got along
really well,” says Jesse. “She would love to play with my face and
really stretch it out when we were younger. I guess I should thank her,
because now I’m able to contort my face in unimaginable ways and
express a variety of zany emotions .” Jesse enjoys being part of the
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® family because of its positive
like-minded people and learning new skills. In addition to his act,
which includes comedic juggling and stilt dancing, Jesse also has
skills in unicycling, diabolo, yo-yo, balloon twisting and kendama.
The following portion of an article was written by Ed Condran,
Correspondent; 12:04 a.m. EDT May 16, 2014. The entire article is
Interview of Jesse Pike:
“I just want to say one word to you. Plastics.”
The most famous line from the
legendary film “The Graduate’’ also applies to Jesse Pike.
The Point Pleasant Borough native
initially thought plastics was the answer when it came to a career.
That’s why he studied at the Pennsylvania College of Technology after
graduating Point Pleasant Borough High School in 2012.
“I wanted to go to a tech school to
learn about plastic,” Pike said. “Plastic is everywhere. I thought that
would make for a fascinating and lucrative career.”
Pike eventually discovered that his
heart wasn’t in plastics, however. The former class cut-up decided to
become a professional clown rather than toil in technology.
“My girlfriend, who is from South
Jersey, went to circus school. I thought that would be cool,” Pike
said. “I was right.”
Pike studied to be a clown while his
gal pal aspired to become an aerialist. Pike was hired by Ringling
Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus last year and he made his debut
“It’s awesome,” Pike said. “My
girlfriend didn’t get the aerialist job, but she has a job working
backstage. It’s been really good for us. I love being a clown. I got my
first taste of it working at Six Flags when I was 17. I was a
stiltwalker there. I fell in love with making people happy. I love
making people laugh.”
Pike said he always enjoys visiting
home – but he loves the travel.
love looking out of the train window and seeing America,” Pike said.
“I’m looking forward to traveling to California for the first time
later this year. My parents are thrilled that I found my dream job. You
can have plastics. I would have been miserable having a job where I
just worked with plastics. I needed to have a job where I have fun
every day and that’s what I’m doing. The toughest part for me is doing
three shows two days in a row. We call those days ‘six packs.’ But it’s
fun. I get to hang with the clowns and make kids happy. What could be
better than that?”
A new trick for this elephant.
Modern Art by Elephant.
"Legends" performance begins.
First, the National Anthem sung by Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson
Johnathan Lee Iverson
Lee Iverson welcomes Children Of All Ages to Ringling Bros. and Barnum
& Bailey® Presents LEGENDSSM. A multi-talented performer and an
exceptional vocalist, Johnathan will don the iconic top hat and preside
over this legendary cast that brings together mythical lore with
authentic circus feats found only at The Greatest Show On Earth®!
A New York City native, Johnathan began performing at age 11 with the
world-famous Boys Choir of Harlem. For seven years, he was intensely
trained in all forms of music including classical, jazz, hip hop, and
gospel. Johnathan experienced a string of unforgettable, inspiring
moments as a member of the Boys Choir, which included being awarded the
lead tenor role for the choir, singing at the intermission for Luciano
Pavarotti's Concert in Central Park, performing in a live show on
Broadway for two weeks, and winning second place in the Lena Horne
Vocal Jazz Scholarship.
Johnathan graduated from the University of Hartford's Hartt School in
May 1998 with a degree in voice performance, and shortly after his
graduation, Johnathan was invited to begin his professional
entertainment career with the 129th Edition of Ringling Bros. and
Barnum & Bailey®. Johnathan couldn’t refuse the offer and felt his
prominent role in the show was an unbelievable dream come true.
Johnathan toured with Ringling Bros.® all around the United States, and
his charismatic charm and his incredible voice caught the eye of
Barbara Walters, who within a year of his first tour named him one of
the ten most fascinating people in 1999. Johnathan’s continuous passion
for performance and his drive for excellence earned him an invitation
back to perform with the 131st and 133rd Editions.
After three consecutive tours with The Greatest Show On Earth,
Johnathan left to pursue other performance opportunities, but continued
to work with Ringling Bros. for special events. Johnathan performed in
several off-Broadway productions including Carnival, Showboat, The
Magic Flute, and Dreamgirls. He also acted in commercials for Jeep, Six
Flags Great Adventure and Casual Male XL, as well as singing with the
USO Liberty Bells of New York, voiceovers for the animated feature
Eloise, and a bit of freelance journalism under his pen name J.
Frederick Baptiste/Johnathan Baptiste.
After touring with the 140th Edition, Ringling Bros. and Barnum &
Bailey Presents BARNUM 200SM and the 142nd Edition of DRAGONS,
Johnathan was filled with joy when he was asked to continue his reign
as Ringmaster for another memorable 144nd Edition, LEGENDS. “Ringling
Bros. is truly The Greatest Show On Earth. It amazes me how every year
the producers and the creative team come together to create one
innovative circus spectacular after another!” exclaims Johnathan.
Joining Johnathan on the rails is his wife and fellow performer
Priscilla, whom he met and married while previously touring with
Ringling Bros., and their children Matthew Felipe and Lila Simone.