Every day Sonoma Academy students are provided with nutritious lunches with nearly endless options from their dining service, FLIK. A lot happens behind the scenes that our community may not know. Covid has affected the Guild and Commons (GAC) in several ways. Due to the essential worker shortage in Sonoma County, it was difficult to fill the missing spots in the GAC.
Les Goodman, Chef Manager, said, “With Covid happening, I was brought back on two weeks before opening, so trying to rehire and get that process going is not a quick thing that happens. Normally I am doing hiring throughout the summer, but I wasn’t working for the school at the time.”
In addition, the Sonoma Academy lunch staff job is not year-round, another reason it is hard to find candidates. When the 2021-2022 school year started, the lunch alternated day to day from the sandwich and soup bar to the hot lunch. Though the GAC still isn’t fully staffed, after about a month of school being open the hot lunch, two soups, sandwich and salad bar, toast, fruit, and desserts twice a week are back.
Goodman said, “We’re technically not fully staffed. I’m still having to bring in temporary labor to help fill in the gaps in what we’re missing. Because of that, we are able to do the full service right now.”
The process of preparing lunch every day starts early in the morning. Goodman starts with the soups, makes the signs, and helps others. GAC staff member Nick is in charge of all the other hot food. Leticia is in charge of the deli and the salad bar, and Vicky helps with the flavored waters, desserts, fruit, snacks, and front of the house.
The weekly menu is created with the intention of doing a taco Tuesday, pasta Wednesday, and at least one meatless day. FLIK also has a lot of programming to help change up the weekly menu items. They use different themes like “Tried It,” “Wellness,” and “Food Holidays.” Goodman’s personal favorite GAC lunches are the Asian-inspired days or taco Tuesdays.
Goodman cooked in his first restaurant when he was 14. Growing up, he only watched cooking shows. He said he chose to become a chef because he “just enjoyed it, the creative side, the food.”