Most Exeter Summer School students and faculty visit the winding conveyor belt and utensil disposal bins on their way out of the Elm Street Dining Hall. What they don’t commonly see, however, is the team of employees that cooks each meal, cleans each table, and scrubs each dish, making sure every meal at Exeter is an enjoyable one.
Michael Goudreault, an employee of Elm Street for eight years, is one of the fifteen to eighteen kitchen employees active during the Exeter Summer Session. “I originally worked here as a part-time job,” he said. “But I really enjoyed it and continued serving the staff, faculty, and students.”
Mr. Goudreault works five days a week at the Elm Street Dining Hall during the summer. “I start my job at five in the morning,” he said. “I check the facilities to make sure everything is clean and that the food supply is fully stocked.” Around this time, the staff prepares the first meal of the day: breakfast. “There are many jobs at Elm Street,” he said. “There are people that cook the meals, label the food, as well as dishwashers and custodians.”
Even after students and faculty depart from the dining hall, staff members at Elm Street work tirelessly to clean up the first meal and prepare for the next. “Cleaning up meals takes around an hour and a half,” Mr. Goudreault said. “Afterwards, I typically take a break from nine fifteen to nine thirty,” he said. “We take a thirty-minute break from eleven thirty to twelve, and end work a few hours after the dining hall closes [after dinner]. It’s a continuous cycle,” he said with a laugh.
Despite the long hours and labor-intensive responsibilities, Mr. Goudreault speaks fondly of his job. “My job is work,” he said, “but it’s enjoyable. The staff here all get along and work together every day. We all have the common goal of helping students, teachers, and faculty during the summer and the school year.”
Though his schedule remains constant throughout the year, one ever-changing aspect of the dining hall is the lost-and-found cubbies located by the cafeteria entrance. “Sometimes, we’ll find a laptop, and will have the mission to deliver it to the person,” he said when asked about a usual experience while serving at Exeter.
Behind the familiar trays of scrambled eggs and tubs of spaghetti are a tireless group of individuals that ensures the Elm Street Dining Hall is the most efficient it can be. Aside from thinking about what to eat for dinner, think about the dedicated staff who spend hours guaranteeing that your experience at Exeter Summer Session is the best one yet.