High school food service staff tells how lunch is made

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Photo by Kalani Ruidas

Mr. John Cadman and Mr. Vernon Tangaro prepare bread rolls as a side for lunch.

Kelsie Chong

By Kalani Ruidas, Features co-editor

School begins at 7:45 a.m. at Kamehameha Schools Maui. Students begin their day in class, taking notes and listening to lectures. Meanwhile, the food service staff at Keʻeaumokupapāiʻaheʻahe Dining Hall are behind the scenes preparing for lunch.

There are about 14 total food service staff, with seven kitchen workers on hand at the high school, including a pantry worker, a baker, a head cook, and official chef.

Chef and food services manager Mr. John Cadman is also the overseer of the operation.

He said that he plans the menu one month ahead of time. Food is primarily purchased from either Costco or VIP Foodservices depending on the market prices.

Meat like chicken, pork and beef comes frozen.  Certain spices like rosemary, thyme and basil are acquired fresh from the garden behind Nāmāhana dining hall at the elementary school.

Food is ordered one week in advance and prepared one day in advance. Lunch for the day is prepared and is first served to the food service staff so that they will be available to work during the three lunch services across the Kamehameha Maui campuses.

Baked items and pantry goods are prepared at the high school and distributed to the middle and elementary schools. The hot items, and main dishes are prepared at the elementary school and distributed to the middle and high schools.

The elementary school eats lunch first, then the middle school, and at 12:10, the high school has their first lunch.

On most days, students arrive at the dining hall to find tableware, utensils, and hot and cold food items all ready for them.

However, food service doesn’t always go off without a hitch. Sometimes, students take more food than expected, and the dining hall runs short.

Ms. Kaleo Prais, kitchen worker, said that they try to be ready for that. “Say we’re serving spaghetti and there are only eight pans to serve; most times that won’t be enough. So, Mr. Cadman will put some chicken nuggets in the oven to put out when there’s no spaghetti left,” she said.

Other problems occasionally arise, too. Kitchen worker Mr. Vernon Tangaro said, “The other day we had a miscommunication in the amount needed for salt. A whole pound went into the batch and it was ruined.”

“The best thing about working in the kitchen is being able to be creative in what we make. It’s about making healthy alternatives. Healthy food that tastes good and is good for you,” said Ms. Kanani Brown, pantry worker.

Overall, students report they have been satisfied with their lunches. Junior Tori Ching said, “I think lunches have gotten a lot better this past year. The staff is really nice when they interact with us. They’re very prompt.”