ST. CLOUD -- This week in our "Behind the Scenes" series on WJON, we put on our aprons and fire up the ovens with the cooking staff at North Junior High School.

Ask any student and they will tell you lunch is one of their favorite subjects in school. However, ask the cooking staff and they will tell you it's one of the hardest subjects.


Feeding roughly 800 students during the school year North Junior High Head Cook Sandy Gruber and her staff need to be at the top of their game.

"On a daily basis I make a check sheet for everyone which lets them know what their jobs are for each day," says Gruber.

All the food for the week is order a week in advance and Gruber says once they know the days menu they waste no time getting started.

"We start cooking at about 6:00 a.m.," says Gruber. "Some will cut fruit, some will prepare the meat and some are in the back doing the dishes."

The staff prides themselves in making sure the students get a hot meal every day. Second Cook Jennifer Goff says they start making the hot food right before the lunch bell rings.

"I like to batch cook so each line gets a fresh hot meal and takes about 15 minutes to get everything ready," says Goff.

As the hot food is cooking the rest of the staff is cleans off the prep stations, loads up the serving lines and gets ready for show time.

"We will have some of the ladies serving the food and we have some in the back that will be doing the clean and dirty end of the dish room," says Gruber.

Once the final line has gone through it's just one last job before they can call it quits.

"The trays get run through the washing machine and then we have another girl who deals with the clean end and makes sure everything is clean and proper before it's put away," says Gruber.

Gruber says it's a lot of work most days but the quality staff and the smiles on the students face make it all worth it.

The kitchen staff at North Junior High School smile for a picture. (Photo: Sandy Gruber)
The kitchen staff at North Junior High School smile for a picture. (Photo: Sandy Gruber)