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The quality of public education goes through the kitchen. School feeding is often one of the biggest motivations for students to attend school. It is in the cafeteria or even in the kitchen window that a snack made with care and care makes the difference. The food served is more than a reason for the student to study hard.

To commemorate the day of the cook, on September 30, three professionals in the area report the challenge of working in a time of pandemic and the prospects for the future.

Lunchbox Vilma Ribeiro, who has worked for more than 20 years at the Agenor Ferreira Leão State School, in the Tijucal neighborhood, changed her routine with the pandemic. During this period, work is limited to organizing school feeding kits and distributing them to parents who come to get them as scheduled.

As soon as she returns to face-to-face classes, Vilma believes that the routine will be slightly different from what happened last year. The lunch cook recalls that a school kitchen has always been a restricted territory. “We work in a closed environment, in uniform, we always wear gloves. Now, with the pandemic, masks. We are anxious, I particularly because the preparation will not be so different, but the distribution to the students will be different – they would arrive at the window, take the plate and go to the cafeteria. We will have to keep a distance from them. Which is sad because they want to talk and even hug. And that cannot, ”he says.

In Vilma’s understanding, the cafeteria is one of the parts that students like the school most because it is the place that serves the food they love so much. The school has a varied menu, which is guided by nutritionists. Salads, fruits are served – everything that is nutritious and that students like.

Vilma points out that at school a habit was created among the students – most of them eat their meals and praise the work of the school cooks. With the posting of the delivery of school feeding kits on the school’s social networks, the students’ response is immediate – they send messages to the school cooks. “Aunt, when are we going back to school? I miss your food ”. Vilma admits that she and her colleagues are anxious and prepared for the new situation with face-to-face classes. “We love what we do”.

New to the profession

Debuting in the profession, and working at the Tiradentes Military School, in Cuiabá, Rodrigo Martins is excited to work with education, as he knows that young people and children have school meals as their main meal of the day. When he assumed the role of cook, Rodrigo was aware that he was entering a space that the woman dominates, but was welcomed very well by the new colleagues.

The new cook is proud to work with school meals and to be able to contribute to the development of children and young people within the school, even if indirectly. In his view, education in schools involves more than reading and writing, as it is a space for socialization, learning and development.

“And food is part of the well-being and health of students. We know that the school performance of a well-fed student is better. It is an honor for me to be able to be part of this public function ”, he points out.

In the pandemic, Rodrigo had reduced his work, because without face-to-face classes, he works on a scale. Even in this period when there are no students, the work environment organization service has to be kept clean, maintaining the hygiene of the utensils and the kitchen that are as important as preparing food.

Rodrigo thinks it is important to value the server to be able to evolve as professionals and, with that, give back to students a more professional and quality job. “Our space and a collective space where we will have extra care so that the school community feels reassured”, he highlights.

Rodrigo stresses that the kitchen has a little of each material and the cook has to master all of them, such as knowing how to divide, divide, multiply, from which region a certain product comes from. In addition to knowing the history of this product. With this, the kitchen becomes a true classroom with the right to interactivity, real-time viewing and savoring.

Even after the pandemic, my work will continue to be carried out with the greatest dedication, goodwill and affection that I have for all students, as my daughters are also students at another school and I wish that they receive the best possible treatment as far as those I try to offer for the students of my school unit, remembering that the pandemic has not yet passed covid-19 is still in our social environment, but we will be following the guidelines and guiding our students to care and protection.

Challenge

Lunch cook Yasmin Alves Scarella, from EE Estevão Alves Corrêa, in Cuiabá, believes that working in pandemic times will be a great challenge since professionals handle food, and therefore, it will be necessary to redouble care and hygiene, as the virus is still gift.

“I believe that 2021 will be a completely different year, a year in which we will need many adaptations, we still do not know how the return to face-to-face classes will take place, but we know that we will need a lot of care and attention to each other”, he observes.

Yasmin believes that snack time will change, as it is the moment when students will need to remove their masks to eat, so they will need to be away from each other.

“Our quality control begins when the food supplier comes to deliver. We check if everything is right with the goods, if it is suitable for consumption that week. The vegetables, fruits and vegetables are delivered weekly so they are always fresh and of good quality ”he exemplifies.

Yasmin recalls that the students praise – and a lot – the work of the lunch cooks, especially when the weather is cool and their favorite dishes are served, such as meat with manioc. “They like fruits a lot too, mainly because it’s very hot here, they love a cold watermelon or pineapple.

For Yasmin, the pandemic caused the lack of contact, of conversation, of the friendship that the lunch cooks developed with them. “Everything is happening – the worst is over – and soon we will return to activities and even if with some difference in routine, we will be able to see each other and gradually return to our normal”.

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