Washington DC’s Walker Jones Education Campus kitchen was bustling with energy when I arrived during the lunchtime rush. Students waited with dancing feet for their meals as the cafeteria staff efficiently served and approved each tray. Preparing 3 meals a day along with Pre-K and the DOD Fresh Fruits & Veg program, the kitchen is in a constant whirl of activity. Chef Allison’s passion for feeding students was obvious as we toured the facilities. She bounded from feature to feature, making sure to point out the abundance of fresh produce in their walk-in fridge.
After getting the lay of the land, I hung back and watched the magic happen. While there was much to take in, the individuals at the registers were particularly impressive. The staff knew each of the 400+ students by name and were attentive and encouraging when the young eaters expressed apprehension at trying one of the menu items.
This experience emphasized the important role that cafeteria workers play in cultivating an atmosphere of health within schools. A smile and a kind but firm word might be all one kid needs to expand his or her culinary preferences. Keep up the great work, Chef Allison & crew!