Food For Thought


Kenzie Schindler and Gavin Brand

Mr. Niam Walcott, school lunch director, clarified students’ complaints about WHBHS school lunch in an interview this week. Due to last month’s article, there was some backlash on what was reported to be wrong with lunch. The Hurricane Eye met with Mr. Walcott to clear up the issues.

One of the major issues was the quality and freshness of the product. Walcott assured  the food is made fresh every day. But students specifically wondered if the chicken was fresh. He said, “We make it one day, it is cooled, then put out to be ready to serve.”  

We also asked about where WHB gets its food from. He said, “Fifty Long Island school districts all bid on food, but I decide what company we receive the food from, how good the variety is, and the quality.” However, the negative to this system is the trucks don’t always have all the food that they ordered. 

Walcott said, “In some cases we have ordered $20,000 worth of food, but the trucks only bring $5,000 worth of food.” This issue is a common occurrence because of the food and labor shortages. 

Another problem affecting the school lunch is the lack of staffing. Mr. Walcott said that most of the kitchen staff are mothers. If their kids get sick or if they need to be with their children, then they won’t be able to come to work. Also, with the government’s current unemployment programs, more people are choosing to stay home than to go to work. This lack of staff really affects the quality of food in the long run. 

WHB should be expecting some new changes to the school lunch in the next few months. Contrary to the previous article’s claims, the frozen yogurt machine is not broken – it is just not on because cleaning it everyday is a big undertaking. The WHBHS kitchen staff has not had the proper time to train someone how to clean it correctly. 

Mr. Walcott said, “I’d rather have the experience of how to work the machine before we use it, so it will not have to close every other day because it wasn’t cleaned correctly.”  

Walcott’s goal is to get the fro-yo machine back in the mix by late December or early January. They plan to run tests on the machine in December. 

He is also hoping to have more specials happening, like the panini machine coming to the school. The panini machine has the same issue as the frozen yogurt machine with cleaning.

Keep your eyes out for these new improvements WHB! If you have any issues, speak with Mr. Walcott. He is very open to listening to students.