Some people are recognized by just one name, like Cher and Madonna. NEWS 5's Dennis Kellogg introduces us to a man from Eagle, Nebraska who many know by just one name, and it is because of his cooking.
If you ever meet Doug McCallum, chances are he will be serving you a waffle.
You will remember the taste of Doug's waffles, but you may not remember his name. That is why Doug McCallum is simply known to most as "The Waffleman."
"People will call and I will answer, 'Doug McCallum speaking,' and they will say, 'Is the Waffleman there?'" said McCallum.
Doug has been mixing his batter and flipping his 30 waffle irons for seven years across eastern Nebraska. His love for waffles started early in life, when his mom would cook them for the whole football team.
"Some of my high school buddies will still say, 'Does your mom still make waffles?' And I will say, 'No, but I do'," said McCallum.
Doug did not always take his cooking show on the road, though he spent a lot of his time away from home. He used to travel the world as a consultant teaching companies how to communicate better. In 2001, he was working for the American embassy in Egypt. That is where he was on 9–11, when terrorists attacked the United States.
"They would not let us come home. So I had all this time to think. And I thought, 'You know, I should do something safe'," McCallum said.
Which is when he decided to do what his family and friends told him he should have been doing all along - turn his waffle making into a business.
"My idea was I would help churches and schools raise money by cooking waffles and I would split the profits with them. Well, we are now seven years into it and we have cooked almost a quarter of a million," said McCallum.
And helped those non–profit groups raise about a half million dollars during that time. Doug's success starts with a great waffle.
"Everything gets mixed fresh, fresh butter, fresh eggs, everything fresh, so we bought it yesterday, we serve it today," said McCallum.
Doug's waffles taste great because he is all about quality. But when you cook this many waffles, he has to know something about quantity too.
"We cook 80,000 to 90,000 sausages a year," said McCallum. "We probably go through 80-100 gallons of syrup. That is a lot of syrup. And 40,000 waffles."
Crunch the numbers even more, and you will find this guy is not afraid of cooking a big breakfast in a short time.
"We can do 300 an hour and in Ogallala, Nebraska. We did 999 in three hours. Had I known that, I would have bought one waffle myself to do a thousand," said McCallum.
Doug's success, though, is as much presence as it is product.
"Anybody can cook waffles. Anybody can do what I am doing. But you have got to have that personality," said McCallum.
And young and old alike never seem to get their fill of the Waffleman.
"I have waffle groupies. I actually have waffle groupies," said McCallum. "I will have a dozen people that will eat waffles on Monday and then waffles on Friday, and I am like, well, if you like them, alright with me."
So will there ever come a day when this former college professor and business consultant turned Waffleman shuts off his waffle irons for good?
"I am 62 years old. People go when are you going to retire? I do not have a clue because I am having fun helping people and just doing what I love to do," McCallum said.
Cooking waffles has allowed Doug McCallum to make a name for himself. It is just not his real name.
"Glad to hear it. Makes the Waffleman happy."
Doug does about four events a week and he is booked every weekend he wants to work through February of 2011. One of the events he is already scheduled for is Kool–Aid Days in Hastings this summer, when he promises to make multi–flavored Kool–Aid waffles. If you would like to learn more about the Waffleman, or book him for an event you can visit http://www.wafflemandoug.com/
Original airdate: April 13, 2010