The Café is once again serving up delicious meals and smiles at Ross School, after a weeklong closure for repairs and upgrades. On March 1, the kitchen at the Upper School sustained water damage after a malfunction in the heating system caused a sprinkler to burst. Thanks to Liz Dobbs, Ross’s chef de cuisine, and her team, students and staff did not go hungry.
From March 3–7, 300 daily lunches at both the Upper and Lower Schools were catered by local restaurants and markets including American Pie, Cromer’s, Chen’s Garden, Fierro’s and Luigi’s. Student residences were stocked with breakfast supplies, and dinner was provided on campus and out on the town in East Hampton.
Liz said it was a challenge to secure such a large number of healthy meals by 11am each day, but she was satisfied with the outcome. “The most important thing was to maintain the stellar quality of the food that is expected at Ross.” Asked if it was as tasty as the Café cuisine, she replied with a smile, “It was close.”
Tom Szajkowski, director of Facilities at Ross School, managed the repairs within the tight time frame. Work included a new ceiling, heating and cooling system, fire safety sprinklers, lighting, and replacement of a small section of the hardwood floor. Tom’s team also used the opportunity to install a new pastry oven, paint, and move equipment around for a better use of floor space.
“We considered environmental and safety issues and worked closely with the East Hampton fire marshal and representatives from the Department of Health to ensure the repairs were up to code and Ross School standards. We are all satisfied with the results,” Tom said.
During the closure, the Café team spent time at the Lower School with the students and staff and gathered some good ideas for improving the meal service on the LS campus.
With M-Term coming to a close, the Café is heading into their busy season and will once again provide 1,100 daily meals, as well as prepare for major spring events including the Live @Club Starlight benefit and graduation.
Liz summed up the Café and Facilities staff’s attitude through the closure: “Resilience. We managed through it, and the Café experience for everyone will be better than ever.”