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Behind the Menu: School Lunch at CHS

CHS+kitchen+staff+works+early+morning+making+meals+for+students
CHS kitchen staff works early morning making meals for students

Every day, the Camas High School (CHS) lunch staff creates new dishes to serve students. School lunches are notoriously known for being displeasing among students, but with recent changes to the quality and variety this year, is the food more enjoyable to the student body?

Taco bar staff hard at work in the Main Commons

CHS has stepped up the options regarding diet, with the food in the North Commons ranging from Philly cheesesteaks to gyros. There are about 2,000 students attending CHS, and with a small team of kitchen staff, no one expects a five-star menu. Some students described the lunch food as “hit or miss,” providing critiques for certain food choices.

“The noodles here don’t have much flavor and neither do the mashed potatoes,” CHS junior Ning Sang said.

“The food is sometimes cold and the fries are usually burnt,” CHS junior Maxlynn Truong said.

Many students believe that adding ingredients to enhance the flavor of the food in addition to variety would improve the menu in the North Commons.

“It isn’t the meal that is the problem but the lack of flavor,” Truong said.

However, the CHS student body also noted positive changes to this year’s school lunch, such as the vast choices the staff provides, reasonable prices and general improvement compared to middle school menus.

“I feel like there’s more variation with the dishes served in the North Commons,” Sang said. “Most foods last year consisted of noodles and other typical school lunch meals. This year, there has been stir fry, curry and other more diverse dishes.

The North Commons is solely focused on having a different option every day, while the Main Commons serves the same menu consistently. 

Head Chef Clay Blakeman

Variety is precisely what CHS lunch staff member Clay Blakeman plans to achieve this year. Blakeman, the head chef, and the other staff work five hours to prepare the food for the day, with Blakeman clocking in around 5:30 a.m. every morning. In addition to preparation, the lunch crew edit menu options to fit student tastes.

“We actually work with a third-party corporation that sends me a menu for the month. I’ll look through it and tweak because I know what you guys like a little more,” Blakeman said.

Blakeman added that he and his coworkers are partnering with a new corporation this year that works with Blakeman to create new and exciting dishes for students to enjoy. CHS lunch staff strives to provide students with freshly made food produced from scratch.

“In the last two years, I think we increased [lunch] quality quite a bit,” Blakeman said, “This year, we are doing a lot more scratch cooking, meaning not so many preservatives and pre-made food. We’re cooking all our meats: all the chicken, beef, and pork. I come in and butcher that in the mornings and cook it up through the day.”

The goal of the kitchen staff is to improve the quality of lunch at CHS, noticeably improving the food each year. They plan to keep expanding and enhancing the menu to keep students satisfied and satiated throughout the school day.

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Lilia Boyd, Copy Editor

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