My relationship to cafeteria staff

by Winston Gamache

I remember back to the good old days of life in residence. My favourite part was without a doubt the food that was always waiting ready to eat in the caf. Sure, I love having a kitchen now and cooking—baking especially—but some days I just don’t want to. With a busy schedule I often end up cooking when I’m already hungry and more than a little grumpy and that just as often affects the quality of my cooking. A hangry chef is a hasty chef. The caf was this magical place where you just walked in and instantly had so many different options to choose from. You could have a burger or the pasta of the day and fresh salad. You could also just take one of each and stuff your face.

But beyond the food itself, it’s the people who make that caf-magic possible.

I wouldn’t describe my relationship with the cafeteria staff as overly personal, but after two years of seeing that same friendly faces day-in-day out, we definitely had something going on. Meeting and developing a bit of a relationship with the cafeteria staff on a basic level is a great way to improve your caf experience. Start with the staff at your favourite and/or most frequented stations. While formal introductions aren’t necessary, being friendly and polite go a long way in making your caf feel like a community.


I remember salad lady—names were never my thing—would see me coming from across the cafeteria, weaving through the crowd of students. By the time I made it to the station, she had my Caesar salad just the way I like it—extra parm, hold the croutons—ready to go. We would exchange a “Hey! How are you?” and then continue about our days. This relationship and understanding was simply built out of being friendly and served in brightening each of our days. Cafeteria staff put in hard, often repetitive work to bring you good food. It’s the least you can do to be respectful. And plus in my experience even a simple smile, often gets you extra food. It’s a win/win situation.