• Last modified 396 days ago (July 26, 2018)


Cook has spent lifetime in kitchen

Staff writer

Once a cook, always a cook.

Bobby Magathan, 70, has been a cook and baker all of his life.

Magathan moved to Marion in October after taking a job at St. Luke Hospital. He also cooks for Historic Elgin Hotel.

“My grandma inspired me to be a cook,” he said. “She was a German cook, and I learned a lot from her. She was up early and worked all day cooking for a harvest crew. I love to bake. I could bake 24/7.”

Magathan was born in Marion. His parents owned a farm near Marion but lost everything in the big flood of 1951.

They moved to Herington, where he was raised and graduated from high school.

He started in the restaurant business at age 14 as a dishwasher. His first cooking job was at the Daily Hotel in Herington, earning 35 cents an hour.

He became manager of a Holiday Inn and Red Coach Inn in Salina before going to work at St. John’s Military Academy.

While there, he attended chef’s school and was required to take a course in floral design and interior decorating.

The results can be seen in his home at 327 N. Roosevelt St. It is decorated in bright color schemes and an abundance of décor.

Magathan said he learned more from his grandmother than from all the baking classes he took.

He cooked at Presbyterian Manor in Salina for 10 years before moving back to Herington to work in the city hospital for two years and then Herington Senior Center for 17 years.

Magathan enjoyed eating his own cooking, and his weight eventually ballooned to almost 500 pounds. He had life-threatening diabetes.

Almost three years ago, he underwent gastric bypass surgery and lived on a liquid diet for six months. He now weighs 150 pounds. He avoids sugar, never eats a meal, and snacks all day.

“Once I lost all that weight, I had so much energy,” he said. “That’s why I took the job in Marion.”

His restricted diet hasn’t destroyed his love for cooking and baking.

He can’t eat sweets but often bakes cakes for people and sells baked goods at the Marion farmers’ market. He also has been a caterer and has baked for fundraisers.

Magathan started at the Elgin at the beginning of the year. He prepares breakfast there every Friday through Monday before going to the hospital to make breakfast and lunch there.

While the opera workshop is in Marion, today through Aug. 2, he will work from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. at the hospital and from 7 to 10 a.m. at the Elgin every day.

“I enjoy people,” he said. “I enjoy cooking for people, and people enjoy eating.

“I’m glad I moved to Marion. I like working at the hospital, and the people at the Elgin are just like family.”

Magathan is proud to support his son, who is married and is a sergeant at an Army base in Oklahoma. His front walk and porch are decorated in his son’s honor. He also is delighted to have an infant grandson.

Last modified July 26, 2018