Take a Look Inside of Hamilton High School’s Kitchen and Staff

Take+a+Look+Inside+of+Hamilton+High+School%E2%80%99s+Kitchen+and+Staff

Divya Potta

Hamilton High School describes current school lunch environments and options and aspires to improve in the 2021-2022 school year. 

Hamilton High School’s free lunch from the years of 2021-2022 is currently facilitated and managed by CUSD Nutrition, where it is a priority to offer healthy and safe food to all ages.  The lunches at Hamilton range from pizza and burgers to salads and wraps. In addition, they offer many sides and drinks such as fries, tater tots, carrots, apple juice, and many flavors of propel. The school ultimately strives to provide a variety of foods with unique decadence and tastes all while creating great relationships with customers and building relationships. Hamilton’s 2 main goals are to provide healthy and tasteful meals and most importantly forming an appreciable lunch environment. To get the essence of how school lunches work at Hamilton and how they can be better, the assistant manager of the lunch department and Holly Stir Assistant Manager, Lindsey Wheeler was interviewed. 

To begin, when asked about the work environment in the kitchen, constantly making food for students, she states, “Hectic, Busy and short staffed.  No explanation needed.” This is something that can clearly be seen when waiting in line to get lunch. Many staff members are continuously moving around to prepare the food and get them to the students in a professional and timely manner. Additionally, Wheeler talks about the relationship between staff members in the kitchen and describes the conditions to be up and down. Some workers are excellent and always on task while others work to get a paycheck. Generally, this can be seen in all work environments, as not all employees are passionate about what they do and are rather trying to keep food on the table for their families.

When it comes to the relationship between staff members and students it is presented that the staff do not have the time to build relationships with students although that is one of CUSD’s top priorities. Wheeler states, “I would say that there is not really enough time to form relationships with students.  We are just trying to get as many kids through the line as possible.  I do have some cashiers that really take the time to speak to the students.  I work the sub line during lunch-I see a lot of the same students every day and have memorized their orders.  I can just look at their faces and have their order ready by the time they get up to the line.  I know that they secretly like it. We would definitely appreciate a thank you every now and then.” It is extremely hard to balance both tasks at a time: creating relations and getting all students’ their lunch. It is also important for the student to acknowledge the staff members’ service and what they go through when working with highschool students. This is to say that it can be hard managing kids who are just now starting to get some freedom. They can be obnoxious, loud, and most of all disrespectful. In truth, it is both the students and staff members’ job to work well and build relations. 

When asked about tips to make the lunch line run faster and smoother, Wheeler reveals that it is helpful for the students to know what they want when it is time to order and also make sure to be attentive so the line doesn’t slow down. She also portrays that it is best to only stand in line if you are going to order lunch so that other students are not intimidated by a long lunch line. When referring to the quality of Hamilton’s food, it is said that the lunch menu is dictated by the dietician and Aramark, including the serving size and portions. Therefore, the food offered is being closely examined and reviewed to make sure it is the best of quality. The kitchen work system is described to be very fundamental and time based. Wheeler says, “We are a well-oiled machine.  Everything is clock work.  Staff start at 5am and do not stop until time to leave. Many working over time.” Discussing the areas of improvement, Wheeler brings up the importance of a fully staffed kitchen and more liberties with the menu than permitted. Furthermore, it is also great to hear that the cafeteria is getting a make-over during the summer and it will be updated with a few new exciting additions. Lastly, Wheeler shares some delightful knowledge about her job and experience. She says, “We work very hard every day to provide the very best for students and staff.  A lot goes unnoticed.  It’s a very thankless job with high turnover because of low wages and heavy workload.” It is amazing to know that the Hamilton Highschool lunch team is improving their service and working hard to create a great environment for all students.