The Hardworking Women Inside Foran’s Kitchen


Foran cafeteria workers celebrated “Pink Day” on October 19. 2019. Photo courtesy of @CafeForan on Twitter.

Alex Velex,

Sydney Roberto

Staff Writers

       The lunch ladies at Foran High School are a group of 10 women and mothers who work tirelessly to take care of their students. At the head of it all is the kitchen manager, Marybeth Salvato, who was gracious enough to share a glimpse into her days. She started off as a lunch aide at Calf Pen Elementary in 1996, so she could have the same hours as her children. 

        Salvato spoke warmly on those times; “When it was snow days, I didn’t work and I was home with my children. I did it for my children. For spring breaks, they were off, I was off. I didn’t have to worry about day care”.  After four years at Calf Pen, she decided to move to Joseph A. Foran High School. Starting as a part-timer, then a cook, then to her present-day job as the kitchen manager. She described the environment as a “busier kitchen with more going on,” which was a nice change from what the elementary school was like. Although her kids are all grown now, that doesn’t mean her days are any less hectic. 

        One of the main things Salvato is tasked with is ordering all of the food for the upcoming weeks, usually two or three weeks in advance. Despite the fact she said there is no strict budget, she has to estimate how much food will be needed. If she goes too over then food will be wasted, but if she orders too little, then the lunch menu will be affected. Although she did not speak of any ordering problems, she did talk about other problems the kitchen has faced.

        A few months ago, all of the freezers and refrigerators broke down and all items in them had to be transferred to Jonathan Law High School, the other high school in Milford, Connecticut. As a result of this, Salvato traveled to Law at 5 a.m. every morning. She had the tricky job of guessing the right amount of food to transfer back to Foran so that all the students could be fed properly. 

        She also described a problem with students buying food. When students buy food, they have a pin number they must put in. When the internet at Foran fails, the kitchen’s entire system shuts down and the women have to write out each order and PIN to then put into their system when the internet comes back. When this happens, “the women have to stay even longer” to make sure they get all the orders in. But Salvato isn’t the only woman in the Foran kitchen going above and beyond for the students’ meals. 

        Lisa Morales and Raye Gagliardi are two other women who have just as busy days. Morales is also a mother and is a chef who is also tasked with taking over Salvato’s duties when she is absent. She talked about some of the kitchen’s accreditations; including the 95 to 100 percent pass rate from the health inspector they always receive, their accommodations to any students’ allergies and food preferences, and all the service verification all the women in the kitchen have received.

        Gagliardi, who has another job in food service outside of Foran, works at a restaurant that she grew up doing. This results in her having five hour days at Foran, but some of the women have even longer days. During these long days, they have only a paid 10-minute break and an unpaid 20-minute lunch. On E and F days, these breaks are required to be taken in the morning, since lunch starts early and ends late in the day. This means once the women start working, they are on their feet until the day is over.

        In spite of the long days and unpredictable complications, all three women described loving the relationship they have with the students. Salvato spoke proudly of being “an essential part of the student’s day” and all the lengths they go to for the students. From “baking goods fresh every day” to “providing the five components” of a proper meal; they even keep their doors open until 15 minutes before the last period bell rings. 

       All the women in the Foran kitchen want to keep providing proper meals, so they want to hear more feedback from the students. An easy way to do this is to follow them on twitter, @forancafe, or go talk to them about the things you like and dislike in the cafeteria. The following staff are employed in the Joseph A. Foran kitchen; Marybeth Salvato, Lisa Morales, Raye Gagliardi, Najia Asjfaq, Gisela D’Angelo, Renee Germain, Jean Lydiksen, Jaqueline Ohanian, Ana Osegueda, and Joanne Scofield.