Face-Off: Cafeteria staff

Production Manager Chef Ric Pontes

What is Your Job?

I’m a kitchen coordinator. I make sure everyone in the kitchen is doing what’s needed to be done, and if they have questions, they come to me. Chef Jones tells me what to relay to the cooks for morning production or items that other campuses may need. I am basically Chef Jones’s voice to the kitchen. But I am also the voice for the kitchen staff: if they have concerns, I bring them to Chef Jones. In the morning, I receive daily deliveries, which often take over an hour for the driver to unload and me to put away in our kitchen. When lunchtime comes around, I’m next to Alex serving food so that I am available to any student or faculty/staff that may have questions or concerns regarding our menu and make sure they have a positive experience.



What is your favorite part of your job?

The cooking aspect of it. I like to cook; I went to Cambridge Culinary School. This year, the cooking staff has a more regimented cooking plan. We plan the food we’re making for every day in a four-week cycle in order to be more efficient, consistent in taste, and predictable to students and faculty. [This change] also means we don’t have as much flexibility in creating dishes in the morning. However, I love that Chef Jones and I go through a process to perfect a dish that he creates, which is pretty much every dish you see. Last year I used to create the vegetables and fish dishes that didn’t have set recipes more often, [and] now I still get to create and do the sauces for the fish dishes, [such as] teriyaki fish. That’s my favorite part.



Utilities Head Kulvinder Kaur

What is Your Job?

I do the dishwashing. It takes a while to wash the dishes by hand and then load them into the dishwasher—you don’t think that mac ’n cheese just comes out by itself! It takes a couple of hours for me to dry them, but overall I mainly stay behind the scenes setting up racks for plates and cups and getting ready for lunch time. My hours are traditionally from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., but I and most of the cafeteria staff come at 5:30 a.m. to set up the chairs in the Commons and to do the dishes from the previous night’s events or from messy students.


What is your favorite part of your job?

I enjoy working hard and knowing people appreciate me because I do. I think that’s what fulfills me in life—if I know I’m working hard, I’ll be happy with my job. I love my co-workers, too. Even though we speak many different languages—most of them speak Spanish—we fit together like a family. My favorite part is knowing I’m providing for my two daughters to be able to go to school and fulfill their dreams in college. Supporting them makes me feel happy as a mother and is what drives me to love what I do.

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