Meet Ms. Janie, the fabulous food specialist at Childtime in Renton, WA! She has been at Childtime for two years, and ensures that our students eat healthy, delicious meals every day. Read out Q&A with Janie to learn more about her!
Tell us about your background and how you landed this job!
I’m a retiree; I worked 32 years at an electronics company. I also have a background as a beautician and a nanny. One of my friends said to me, “You’re really good with children and I know you know all about food, why don’t you try working as a lunchroom person?” And I go, “A lunchroom person? Where?” She said she saw an ad at a child care center and that they were looking for a food specialist. So I put together my resume and I got the job!
What do you love about it?
Basically, I love the kids. They all know my name! Everybody knows the lunchroom staff. When I go in to pick up the morning dishes, they go, “Hi Ms. Janie!” I really like the kids because you remember things from when your kids were growing up. The food is very nutritious and I try to give the dishes a little “oomph”!
How do you enhance the meals?
I’m not a big salt person, so we have lots of spices like garlic powder, onion powder, chili. I add spices like that.
What does your typical day look like?
I come in and stop and give the kids hugs, and then you go set up the kitchen and look at your meal plan. You have to get that in your head. Then after you get your meal plan, the things that need to go into the oven – because we only have a certain amount of time – you want to get those in the oven, and then you switch to dish washing mode and get the kitchen clean. Then you start chopping the fruits and this and that. You’re multitasking back and forth. If you don’t, it’s not going to be done for lunch by 11! Imagine planning food for 50 kids or more in an hour and 40 minutes, because you have to take time out to clean the kitchen. And I don’t like a kitchen that’s messy!
What’s lunch time like?
The kids all say “I love Ms. Janie’s food!” They’re all happy when the food comes around. Everybody runs to their chair! It’s a fun job! It’s fun.
Can you share some of your favorite hobbies?
I have lots and lots of plants at my house. I also volunteer in the community doing stuff with my church. And that’s me!