Official Student Newspaper of Henry M. Gunn High School

Melanie Gomez

Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) Student Nutrition Supervisor and Gunn Kitchen Lead Melanie Gomez has worked in PAUSD kitchens since 2012. She began working in the Gunn kitchen in 2012 before switching to the Palo Alto High School department in 2017 and then returning to Gunn in 2021. Along with serving as the Gunn lead, Gomez has also worked in the nutrition departments for other middle and elementary schools in the district. Gomez works eight-hour shifts, often from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. The rest of the team usually works between five and six hours. “My job consists of putting away grocery orders, ordering groceries and produce, bringing products back and forth between V-18 and P-116, planning menus, preparing and serving food and doing daily paperwork,” she said.

Coordinating menus is one of Gomez’s most vital duties as Kitchen Lead. Her position requires coordinating with district officials and staff from other schools. “All the leads at different sites meet with our main boss and talk about what is working or not working with the menus,” she said. Then we talk about what we like and don’t like.” At Gunn, Gomez and her team of five serves between 1100 and 1200 meals per day. After working in the industry for several years, she has grown accustomed to the high number of students needing to be served, but still finds it overwhelming at times. Gomez believes that the switch to free lunches is a reason behind the higher meal count. “Gunn has the highest meal count of all 17 schools in our district,” she said.

Due to construction, supplies for the kitchen staff have been temporarily moved to V-18, and staff have to use carts to move products across campus.“It’s especially busy with the construction on our old building and going back and forth between rooms,” she said. “It’s a little time-consuming, but we manage to do it every day.”

After several years in the nutrition department, Gomez still finds that interacting with students is her favorite part of the job. “It makes me happy to see students I knew in elementary school now in middle and high school,” she said. “They basically grew up before my eyes. It’s amazing to me.”

The Oracle • Copyright 2024 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

Donate to The Oracle
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Oracle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *