Cafeteria staff
Left to right- Antonio Equihua, Marcela Ramirez, Niluh Buyank, Norma Ramos, Elder Delaluz, Lucio Morales, David Godinez
Cafeteria staff Left to right- Antonio Equihua, Marcela Ramirez, Niluh Buyank, Norma Ramos, Elder Delaluz, Lucio Morales, David Godinez
Gita Majumdar

The faces behind your food

The Dos Pueblos Cafeteria Staff

 

Marcela Ramirez

 

Marcela Ramirez has just recently taken over as Kitchen Lead, after working at Dos Pueblos for the past two years. The previous Kitchen Lead, Lucia Duarte, left at the beginning of January.

 

Ramirez started working in the food industry almost 20 years ago, for Lazy Acres at the juice bar.

 

“I  was making smoothies and organic juices, “ she said.

 

Ramirez has been quite happy working here at DP and really likes to see that the students have high quality food.

 

“This school is one of the schools that has much better lunches and breakfast,” she said.

 

Ramirez really enjoys working with the lunch lines and talking with the students that come through. She believes it’s really important to start learning the names of students who come through the lines when she can.

 

“When you know their names they feel happy … and [they] come back into your line everyday and say hi,” Ramirez said.

 

Her favorite part is getting to joke around with some of the students.

 

“Something that’s funny, I like soccer and I have my team and the guys [who] like another team will come in, ‘ohhh your team lost’ making fun of my team, and I really enjoy that,” Ramirez said.

 

Ramirez is working hard as the new Kitchen Lead to make the cafeteria and its staff better. She said she’s working on communication within the staff and helping everyone be happier and help one another.

 

“I’m really happy here, and we’re just working to be better every day,” Ramirez said.

 

Antonio Equihua

 

Antonio Equihua is the Lead Cook here at DP and has worked in the Santa Barbara district for eight years. He started working in the food industry when he was 15, as a dishwasher. Since then he has stayed in the industry, working at various positions that lead up to his current job as Lead Cook.

 

Equihua really enjoys cooking for the students, and appreciates that everyone at DP is very nice. He has “rough days” and believes that everyone does, but he doesn’t have anything he particularly dislikes about his job and experience at DP.

 

He enjoys working as the Lead Cook at DP, however, he would like it if the students would come in once in a while to see what the staff do, and how the cafeteria runs.

 

“That way they can appreciate, you know, all the work that we do for them,” Equihua said.

 

David Godinez

 

David Godinez has been working in the DP cafeteria for three years now, but he started working in the industry when he was 16 for his family catering business. He really enjoys working here at DP.

 

“You guys are a cool group of kids,” Godinez said.

 

Some of his favorite memories are from when the DP leadership class came in to make a video on the cafeteria. Similarly, he enjoyed when a teacher brought their class through to learn about what the staff does everyday.

 

One thing that he doesn’t like is his commute to work, as he lives downtown which makes it take a bit longer to get there.

 

He also wishes that students knew that the staff and himself are limited with what they can change about the food on the menu.

 

“You know, I understand maybe that the food isn’t always as great, but from our end we try and do the best we can with what we have,” Godinez said.

 

However, he loves the interactions with the kids and getting to make food for them.

 

Lucio Morales

 

Lucio Morales has been at DP for two years and is the baker for the cafeteria, making all the bread, pizza, and baked goods. However, he also helps out with multiple other things around the kitchen.

 

“Sometimes I’m working here, sometimes over there,” Morales said.

 

Right now the cafeteria is short two people, which has been really hard for him and the rest of the staff.

Morales likes running the registers and working with the students as well. He said it’s funny because when he worked at an elementary school, the little kids would sometimes sneak seconds into their backpacks.

 

“‘I don’t have anything in my backpack!’” they’d tell [me. I was like,] I’m sure you have something,” Morales said.

 

He said that every once in a while students here at DP try to sneak seconds too.

 

One thing he wishes would change is how crowded the students get while waiting in the lunch line. He feels like it would be a lot easier for everyone if they stayed single file and spaced out a little more so everyone can get through.

 

Elder Delaluz

 

Elder Delaluz has been here at DP for around two years doing preparation, cooking, and also serving food, depending on what’s needed on a day to day basis. He has been in the food industry for roughly 14 years, and started working on a food truck making tacos.

 

Delaluz likes “absolutely everything” about his job and really loves working at the cafeteria here. One of his favorite parts is serving the kids because he has his own kids and he likes that he doesn’t have a responsibility for the students here.

 

“If they don’t follow the rules, I can’t do anything,” Delaluz said.

 

However, he would still appreciate it if students follow the rules.

 

 

Norma Ramos

 

It is Norma Ramos’ first year working at DP, but she has been in the food industry for almost nine years. Her first job was at a butcher shop, which she remembers “very clearly.”

 

“I would slice the big blocks of ham … for maybe like three hours,” Ramos said.

 

She mostly does organizing, preparation, and serving, as she doesn’t like cooking very much. However, she does still cook once in a while, when it is needed of her.

 

“If it’s an emergency, for sure I can do it,” Ramos said.

 

She loves serving students, seeing their “happy faces” and having good interactions with them. However, Ramos’ overall favorite part is the break, as many students could understand.

 

 

Niluh Buynak

 

Niluh Buynak is new to the cafeteria staff, and has only been working here for around two months. She likes her job here at DP so far. She thinks that this is a great school and that everyone is really nice and friendly.

 

She does many things around the cafeteria including both preparation, and sometimes just helping where anything else is needed. Although, she really enjoys working the lines. Recently it has been more stressful for the staff because the computers have been breaking down, so she hasn’t enjoyed working the lines as much.

 

However, she thinks that the students are all very friendly and enjoys getting to work with them.

 

“I like it … I’m pretty happy to see their faces, coming through to get food,” Buynak said.

 

One thing she doesn’t like is seeing students come though the line and then go and put all the food in the trash can. But overall she really likes working here and is happy to cook for the students.

 

Minerva Valdez

 

Minerva Valdez works with all the Santa Barbara School District schools, so she isn’t always working at DP. However, she has recently been coming more often to check in on the DP cafeteria staff.

 

“Right now DP is running short staffed, so I try to come and support as much as possible and make sure they have what they need,” Valdez said.

 

From working the register to preparation, she helps out with anything that is necessary.

 

She loves coming to DP, as all of her daughters went to school here, and it feels like it’s “her high school” the most out of the schools in the district. She thinks that the students are all very respectful, even though they sometimes try to trick the staff into getting seconds.

 

She often tells the staff to smile when they can and just be friendly as much as possible.

 

“The students at this age go through a lot of stress sometimes, maybe you think they’re not friendly, but maybe they’re going through something,”  Valdez said.

 

However, that goes both ways, so students: remember that.

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