Cafeteria staff work to provide healthy meals

Elise Wilke-Grimm
News/Opinion Editor

Cafeteria employee Jessica Proyaseng prepares nachos in the cafeteria during first lunch on Wednesday, Dec. 11. Photo by Elise Wilke-Grimm

Behind the scenes work of a cafeteria are more thorough than one would assume. The school and Chartwell work together to enforce that every student eats proper meals.

The process begins at 6:30 a.m. when the employees will start preparing breakfast, which is served from 7:30-7:50 a.m. After breakfast the employees will clean their surfaces, wash dishes, wipe tables and start preparation for lunch.

Between lunches there is around a 30-minute time gap for the employees to wipe down tables and surfaces. They’ll cover all the food to keep it warm and depending on what food went low they’ll cook more to serve for second lunch. When the bell rings after 2nd lunch they’ll separate what can be kept for the next day and what to throw away.

Workers measure the amount of food waste so they can compare it to previous days and see what they can do to omit the food waste issue. Workers will keep in mind foods that went low or foods with too much leftover, they’ll use this to calculate the amount they’ll cook for future lunches.

The closing duties after a regular work day are washing dishes, wiping down tables and disinfecting surfaces, basically normal duties of any food business.

Jessica Proyaseng is a cafeteria worker, and she has very few complaints about her job. She enjoys cooking at work and cooking new dishes in her free time. Similar to any cooking job in the food industry the means can be relatively repetitive to cook since there is the same choices or similar choices everyday at lunch.

“One time I made chili, and I liked that because it was something new and different compared to the repetitive meals we cook everyday,” Proyaseng said.

Chartwell and the school are separate but both of their goals are to keep students healthy, happy and fed. They work together to ensure that these goals are met. The recipes that are used in public school cafeterias are chosen by the government and depending on food waste or other possible factors the meals will hardly change throughout the year.

“We work together pretty well actually. We use a lot of student input which mitigates a lot,” Mary Ann Shafer, registar, said. 

Recent Echo poll of 29 responses shows that about 50 perfect of students eat cafeteria food at least twice a week. 48 percent of respondents say there is not enough options for everyone.

“I eat their food once or twice a week, I would eat it more but they run out of the things I like. I think their grilled cheese sometimes also the nachos,” Myia Bradford, junior, said.

Though most students find something they enjoy, students with allergies or vegans/vegetarians can have difficulties finding something to eat.

“I always bring my own lunch anyway, but if I forgot my lunch or wanted to buy a lunch one day, I don’t even think I would be able to. I’m allergic to gluten, and there doesn’t seem to be any gluten free options,” Sophie Delay, junior, said.


Elise Wilke-Grimm – News/Opinion Editor

This is news and opinion editor Elise Wilke-Grimm’s first year on ECHO staff. She is excited to begin work on the ECHO and get lots of chances to write.


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