Recognizing LOHS’ amazing cafeteria staff

Sophie Parks, Staffer

Since the lockdown on Jan. 16, the LOHS community has all come to appreciate the food provided by the cafeteria staff during the long hours of waiting.

Therese Grebien-Samkow, kitchen staffer, had extremely positive things to say about both her job and LOHS students. “A lot of kids appreciate what I do – I get several thank yous everyday,” said Grebien-Samkow. “I can’t say there would be anything I can think of [when asked about what students can do] other than being polite and grateful for what they are getting!” 

Even after an increase in demand for lunches, things continue to run efficiently. “We went from serving 100 students’ lunches to 600, but we are producing smoothly and quickly, with an organized system set in place.” Grebien-Samkow expresses only gratitude towards kids “who make it easier and follow directions.”

Lake Oswego’s Director of Food Services, Cristobal Castro, emphasized that because food is processed by the district, the staff makes the lunches themselves. Employees typically work anywhere from 3-7 hour shifts at the school, but, because of the pandemic, they are still severely understaffed and are continuing to face conflicts with supply chain issues. 

“We forecast the amount of food we are going to produce for the day so that each week we already know exactly how much is going to be prepared,” said Castro. He said that “instead of cooking 500 burgers all at once, we will instead cook them in batches” in order to prevent extra waste in the kitchen. His favorite part of his job is knowing that it has a greater purpose and can make a difference in students’ lives. 

After surveying feedback from students about the cafeteria service, there were only positive responses. One student highlighted “the food is so good that I stopped bringing my leftovers. I feel very lucky because most other schools don’t have food of this quality.” Another student stressed that the staff is always “nice and cares about the school’s health by suggesting fruits and vegetables. Overall, great job!”

Next time you line up for lunch, make sure to smile and say an extra thank you to your hard-working staff!