Behind the scenes of SHS: Kitchen staff

Feature writers share a day in the life of support staff


Photo by Leah Newhouse

Kitchen staff members cut pizzas and put them in boxes on Feb. 4. They make pizzas four times a week.

Leah Newhouse, Features editor

Putting on a hairnet and gloves, I got right to work.

My first of many tasks was to join in on the pizza making assembly line, where I started off the line by swirling pizza sauce onto the dough and passing it to the next person for them to sprinkle cheese on top. The pizzas continued to be passed through this line until hundreds of cheese, pepperoni and sausage pizzas had been prepared.

According to kitchen staff member Peggy Souza, this process is done everyday except for Mondays. The amount of pizzas made varies from day to day

“We kind of go by depending on what’s on different lines each day…what it’s up against,” Souza said.

When the pizzas are done being prepared, they are sent to the cooler until it’s time for them to.

Kitchen staff member Gerri Keatts has been working at SHS for almost 35 years. She says that until about 15 years ago she made all of the students homemade lunches, including peanut butter for sandwiches.

“Years ago they used to make everything fresh from scratch, the rolls and the cookies,” Keatts said. “Everything has changed. We all made it.”

Keatts says that when she had to make the meals from scratch, it was much harder because she had to put forth a lot of work and effort.

Pizza is one of the foods that the kitchen staff still has to make, except for the crust. Right after the pizzas for that day are prepared, another round of them have to be ready to be prepared for the next day.

Souza arranged hundreds of individual pizza pans into rows, while I sprayed the pans with butter. After this, we placed the dough into the pan. We then stacked them onto a cart and rolled them into the cooler where they would sit overnight to let the dough rise, ready to be prepared the next day.

A couple hours before hundreds of students would devour the pizzas, they are rolled through the oven. Souza placed the individual pizza into a cardboard box marking the flavor while I cut four slices. Then, they were sent into a warmer ready to be eaten.
Souza and Keatts say that they cannot even begin to say how many pizzas they have made in their career, but it would have to be in the thousands.