By: Owen Dunn
For the Flik staff, tasked with cooking for hundreds of hungry Gilman boys, faculty, and staff every day, preparing meals is no easy feat. It takes thoughtful planning, work, and dedication. Do you ever wonder what goes into making our lunches?
Flik’s Director of Dining Services, Mrs. Celeste Collier, explains that typical menu items take as long as two days to prepare and even longer to plan. The meats served by Flik never see the inside of a freezer because they all arrive fresh. Flik’s emphasis on fresh ingredients is paramount to Mrs. Collier: “We get produce everyday. Every. Single. Day. Because we care about serving fresh food.”
Those fresh ingredients include tomatoes for your hamburgers, lettuce for your salads, apples, bananas and more. Fresh beef is put into popular menu items such as the beloved cheesesteak. Flik’s cheesesteak was described by Mrs. Collier as the cafeteria’s most popular dish and the menu item that takes the longest to make. The cheesesteak meat is chopped and seasoned and put in a tilt skillet (a versatile cooking appliance used to braise, roast, boil, fry, and steam) and served in toasted deli buns. All the bread comes fresh from the local H&S Bakery.
The soups made by Flik, similar to the bread and meats, is homemade with fresh ingredients. Flik makes its hearty soups from scratch using a recently-installed program called Webtrition. Webtrition, which is thought to be a more efficient way of preparing soups by Mrs. Collier, helps guide the Flik staff with recipes, ingredients and nutrition.
Flik’s job, as well as Mrs. Collier’s, is a daunting one. The quantity of food the staff must produce and the quality they feel compelled to provide are only part of the equation. Serving the food in a setting that feels comfortable is important, too. Mrs. Collier elaborated, “We’re trying to have a sense of community where there is no dividing wall. We want students and food service associates to all part of one community.”
Mrs. Collier encourages students to make suggestions. As she put it, “When there are suggestions and ideas, we should all work together to come to a happy medium where we can provide the best possible service.”
It may seem simple -- and take just minutes to chow down -- but the process of making a simple item such as the cheesesteak is complicated, tedious, and requires great persistence from the FLIK staff.