Into the life of a lunch lady: Susanna Gutierrez

Portrait of Susanna
Photo by Natalie Flores

Portrait of Susanna Photo by Natalie Flores

Natalie Flores, Staff Writer

Many students start off each morning receiving breakfast from and greeted by a WCHS lunch lady, Susanna Gutierrez is one of them. Gutierrez has been working in our Bulldog Cafe for about eight years. She has been married for 29 years with two children, both WCHS alumni, and has two beautiful grandchildren. 

Gutierrez starts her day around five in the morning getting ready for work and is already in the kitchen by six prepping for nutrition and lunch. She works full-time and goes home around 2:30 p.m. Gutierrez expressed that she loves her job because it’s close to home and keeps her moving around.

“I got into this line of work because I like being active. I worked in an office for many years,” Gutierrez said.

She explained how there are three ranks in the kitchen – rank one is the ladies who work the two to three hour shifts, rank two is the supervisor and rank three is the manager. Gutierrez is rank two and the supervisor of the kitchen.

She oversees about 20 ladies throughout the day, gives them assignments, and handles some of the paperwork that goes on in the kitchen, such as counting how many students have received food throughout the day. 

“At the beginning of the pandemic our numbers were very low, but now we’re serving food for about 900 students daily,” Gutierrez said. 

Gutierrez in her workspace
Photo by Natalie Flores

Gutierrez is concerned that some students might not feel comfortable going up to the kitchen staff because they don’t seem “approachable.”

“I wished students knew that the kitchen staff are moms, human, and approachable and not just known as the ladies who serve food,” Gutierrez said.

Although she loves her job, sometimes there could be a downside, like when the kitchen staff have complaints or when students get nutrition and or lunch just to throw away or waste the majority of it. 

“Sometimes our ladies see kids throw food across the quad and play with the food. That’s the only thing really that bothers us,” Gutierrez said. 

Many of the lunch ladies’ efforts go underappreciated, Lunch Ladies undergo a lot of stress to make sure students are satisfied with their food. As for next time you go get food, make sure to show some appreciation to your lunch ladies that all help provide and serve nourishment to everyone.