Motto History


In the early 1980’s, the Rotary Club of Foster City opted to co-sponsor The Foster City Birthday event along with the Chamber of Commerce. Originally held annually in April, this event commemorated the City’s incorporation of early 1971. Later, the event evolved and grew into the Foster City Art and Wine Festival, which was held annually in June. The Festival was comprised of many vendors that lined Shell Boulevard and parts of Leo Ryan Park.

Ollie Pattum, a Rotary member since 1979, always enjoyed cooking, and particularly barbequing, which he initially experienced while growing up in Louisiana. Ollie’s love of barbequing earned him several awards at the San Mateo County Fair, and spurred him to try his hand at grilling at the Foster City Birthday celebration. He was pleased that by participating, he had an opportunity not only to cook, but to socialize with friends and members of his community as well. Tom Torgerson also was part of the cooking crew in those early days but has since left the Club.

Rick Wykoff joined the Rotary Club of Foster City in 1983, and since he had always enjoyed cooking, he teamed with Ollie and Tom, and together they barbequed at the Annual Art & Wine Festivals. In the beginning, the fare was simple, home style cooking, with hamburgers, hot dogs, beans, and occasionally, turkey legs. Their success eventually led to providing services via an auction/bidding process that became a major fundraiser for the Club.

In the 1990’s, Bill Chow, a member of the Rotary Club of Cupertino, moved with his wife to Foster City after retiring from real estate, and subsequently, he joined the Rotary Club of Foster City. Bill had always been passionate about cooking, and for many years, Bill and his wife had looked forward to owning a Bed and Breakfast after retirement. To obtain his cooking credentials and elevate his cooking skills to a higher level, Bill enrolled in the California Cooking Academy in San Francisco. After attending the Academy for two years, Bill passed the test and became a certified chef. Bill brought professional techniques and commercial skills to the Ollieque team and as a result, his talents helped increase the fundraising.

Long time Club members, Jon and Linda Grant, added their own special touches to the cooking team: Linda Grant served as the crew’s director/coordinator for many years, where she was affectionately known by the crew as, “The Boss Lady”. Jon dubbed the barbeque crew, the “Ollieque”, after founder Ollie Pattum.

The Grants successfully promoted the Club’s cooking talents throughout Rotary District 5150. Almost every Rotary club in the District has utilized the Foster City club’s cooking services, including various District Assemblies. At these functions, the crew has sometimes cooked for groups as large as 300-500 attendees, typically serving a full lunch including such items as ribs, chicken, salad and beans.

The crew’s offerings became so popular at annual the Foster City Art and Wine Festival that they split their talents into two separate vendor sites, located toward the North and South ends of the festival. A friendly competition developed between the crews to make the most sales. Rick Wykoff served as the captain of Crew #1, and Greg Kuhl captained Crew #2.

The crew is proud to note that the Ollieque can set up almost anywhere. In fact, one summer they set up the equipment a RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) event in a ravine in Golden Gate Park where they were required to lower the cooking grill by rope down a steep slope. The event was enjoyed by all who attended. However, when the event concluded, it turned out that moving the hot, heavy grill back up the slope to the towing trailer was quite a challenge. Success was achieved after expending a lot of effort and manpower—and beer. Ollie and the crew still laugh at that memory to this day.

As the years have passed, the barbeque crew’s reputation has grown significantly, as has the size and number of events they have served. Live auction bids are made for the crew’s services to cook at fundraisers, spaghetti feeds, rib fests, police & fire benefits, weddings, birthdays, holiday parties-- both north and south, near and far. Not surprisingly, the Ollieque crew currently have a list of commitments waiting to be fulfilled--post COVID 19.

Cooking provides a valued revenue stream for the Club. The Ollieque crew is very proud to recall that one year in the 1990’s, they brought in revenue that topped $40,000. They achieved this feat by heading out and cooking almost every weekend in April through September.

The Club is disappointed that COVID has temporarily shut down the Ollieque, but everyone looks forward to firing up the grill as soon as the pandemic subsides, when gatherings will once again safely be allowed.

Members who are referenced here, and many others who are unnamed in this article, have contributed a great deal of time and effort to the success of the Ollieque, showing tremendous dedication over the years. All have contributed significant value to the Rotary Club of Foster City and the community it supports.

The Club motto, “THE CLUB THAT COOKS” can be interpreted to express several meanings, each of which are accurate and well earned.