Kalamazoo, MI
one-hundred-forty-one Years of Service to the Student

Inside View

An Inside View of the Cafeteria

(Kalamazoo College)

I watch the chef’s skilled fingers dance the knife around the melon. In three easy gestures its pulp is neatly diced and placed in a large bowl. This is the type of care that goes into creating food for the 1350 servings required every day in the cafeteria.

There are 24 K students and about 25 full and part time workers employed at the cafeteria. The first of the workers begin each day at 6:00 a.m. and the last leave at 9:00 p.m. “It is hard work but I really enjoy it. Everyone is treated really fairly,” said Amanda ’18 who asked to not disclose her last name.

They equip themselves with hairnets, aprons, and after a thorough hand washing, sanitary gloves each day. These are the warriors of the dinning service. They come early and leave when the job is done.

After suiting up on a typical evening each employee will set to work on their given task. The griller slaps beef on the hot grill, letting the grease sizzle. The chefs will start dicing up the fresh veggies as the other workers reload the stations with valuable supplies like your favorite sugary cereals.

The chefs sing along to the blaring pop music and crack inside jokes as they busy themselves with their duties.

The managerial staff flows through the kitchen checking for perfection. When asked what her favorite part of the job was, a manager Michel, who also asked to not disclose her last name,  said “I like knowing that we make good food. I think we are amazing.”

Upon leaving the kitchen the smell of freshly cleaned counters smell of bleach and the fleeting sent of simmering marinara. The ice-cream machine gurgles away in preparation for dinner.

Everyone is busy at work with ten minutes left before the students are let through the doors. They bustle around gathering supplies that could only be properly placed at the last moment. “In the moments before the doors open it’s like the calm before the storm. The whole room freezes,” said Amanda.

The dishes are set and the workers take their places minutes before the students arrive. The doors open and they are ready. And the next day it starts again.   

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An Inside View of the Cafeteria