Lunch process feeds students


Ben Prengler

School lunch for more than a thousand students takes a lot of preparation from the district kitchen staff.

Katie Felton, Staff Reporter

There are more than 1,250 students on campus but with an unknown number of students bringing their lunch every day, it can be a guessing game for the cafeteria in trying to figure out how much food to make every day.

“We know how many kids eat in each lunch,” head lunch coordinator Becky Lustberg said. “And we base it off what we served that time last year and how much we served the day before.”

Every kitchen employee has a different responsibility and is in charge of what happens to their section of food.

“There are about 11 people in the kitchen and each have their own set of skills or jobs that they do,” Lustberg said.

The lunch staff begins preparing for lunch at 6:00 a.m. to ensure that the food is done by the time the first lunch rolls around. They also have to make sure they have enough to feed everyone who will be purchasing lunch that day.

“[The first step to making lunch is] putting all the leftover food in the steamer, and that takes about half an hour,” Lustberg said. “And then we start on the french fries and that takes another half an hour, and then we do all of the pasta and rice and that takes about an hour.”

The lunch staff also has to make sure there is a wide range of options for different palettes so that everyone is happy with their lunch. With four different lines and more than a thousand kids, a lot of food is required.

“[The process of making lunch] starts with nutritional  planning from our nutritionist,” cafeteria manager Jackie Palovik said. “We plan our recipes, and the amounts needed for each one. We place our grocery order for the ingredients… [then] we prepare the food each morning.”

Staff members aren’t the only ones that do lunch planning.

“Every day I already have planned what line I am going to and what I am getting, so I waste no time because the lines are always really crowded,” freshman Monica Malik said.