The blizzard of ’13 was a fun and exciting experience. Being from New Hampshire, I know what to expect in the winter, but even this storm took me by surprise! Before all the walkways were plowed and streets cleared, I got a first-hand experience of exactly how much snow had fallen. The morning after the blizzard at about 9:45, I was making my way to the front door leading outside. I went to open the door and ‘boom’ nothing, no movement. In shock I pushed with all my might and finally opened the door pushing all the snow out of the way. I then walked, in knee high snow, all the way to Holloway Commons where I work for UNH Dining. Holloway Commons, or “HoCo” as the students so lovingly call it, stayed open through the curtailed operations of the major Winter storm. While some students may take this for granted, I know the sacrifice that all the full time employees, including the chefs dressed in white, had to make. On Friday night many of them couldn’t get home and so the University paid for them to go to the Holiday Inn Express to sleep for the night. The next morning these heroic chefs marched their way, like myself, through the snow to make sure we were all fed and happy. I saw all of the employees, full time and student employees alike, work together to make sure that the university didn’t completely fall apart.
However it’s not just emergencies like this where we see tremendous teamwork. HoCo puts on many different dining events resulting in thousands of students flooding through the turnstiles. I have never seen as many students in one night as I did during the recent Harry Potter feast! The feast was an entire meal devoted to Harry Potter enthusiasts complete with special foods, desserts, costumes, and locations taken right out of the series. It was a night that saw a final count of over 4,000 students passing through the doors. Since I was working, I was constantly making food and helping out, but the real magic happened below the main dining hall. Underneath in the huge kitchen, chefs worked tirelessly to make sure that the food kept coming. Going downstairs was a constant beehive of activity as chefs moved from station to station and as the dishes piled up, so did the food – and they made tons of it! When the night finally wound down and the doors finally shut I knew the real heroes that night. It was everyone that had been a part of it, from the chefs who worked overtime, to the student employees who came in to help, and the dish people who stayed extra late just to get it all clean.
When the students went home that Wednesday evening they may only know a few, if any, of the chefs that worked so tirelessly to make the meal perfect. Think to yourself, when grabbing food in the morning do you thank the people standing behind the counter? Do you even look and acknowledge them? Probably not, most students don’t… Well think about it next time you see a chef walking in the dining hall or see someone behind a buffet line. Maybe say “thank you” or “the food is great today.” Because it’s these people, who go without a name, that keep this university happy and flourishing, healthy and alive. The chefs of HoCo all deserve a proper thank you because they are, in my eyes, the real heroes of this University.
Written by Jacob Lehoux, UNH Class of 2016.