Q&A: Debbie O’Malley, Kitchen Staff


Caroline Champa

Debbie O’Malley hard at work with inventory.

Recently, The Gator sat down with Debbie O’Malley to hear about the School’s lunch process.

What’s your favorite meal made here?

I like tacos, taco salad, and lo mein. I also love pizza day because of how excited the students are for it.

What’s the cleanup process after lunch?

Lunch clean-up moves pretty seamlessly. Everyone in the kitchen staff has a particular responsibility and area to clean up, whether it be the salad bar, deli bar, or utensil area. One of the main parts of cleanup is doing the dishes, which usually takes around an hour, depending on the meal. The other kitchen staff and I switch off for washing dishes, as we have to wash the dishes while other lunches go on. For example, as middle school lunch is being served, dishes from lower school lunch are still being washed. The upper school does tend to be the messiest, so remember to clean up your lunch table after eating to make things easy for the kitchen staff.

What’s the setup process for lunch?

It usually takes around two hours to set up lunch. Everyone has a specific job or area to set up, like clean up. Since the first lower school lunch starts at 10:50, the kitchen staff wants to be prepared for the younger kids around 10:30.

How does the kitchen staff plan lunches?

Everything is planned a few days prior. For example, if the kitchen staff knows there is a fire drill at 1:30, right at the end of upper school lunch, we’ll make sure to use paper plates, which leaves less of a hassle to clean up. In addition, the lunch menu is planned around six weeks in advance, which allows the monthly lunch menu to be posted on the Brimmer website

What else is the kitchen staff involved with?

Although we are mainly known for preparing the School lunches, we also are quite often involved in breakfast for staff and preparing morning coffee, hot chocolate, and tea. I come in at 7, even earlier than students and some staff, to occasionally prepare breakfast for PTA, morning beverages, and snacks.