We have a number of Randolph employees whose roles are unique to our school and whose work makes a difference to the quality of the student experience. Our Director of Dining Services, Keith Davis, is one of Randolph's Difference-Makers.
What do you do?
I manage the program and staff to feed about 650 people on two campuses out of one kitchen every weekday, including a hot breakfast on the Garth Campus. On Wednesday, we serve 300 pounds of chicken. On Fridays, over here on the Garth Campus, we make 52 pizzas from scratch. We also cater lots of School events.
What do people ask you about your work?
How do you cook for so many people? How do you cook for both campuses in one kitchen?
How do you do that?
We make everything over here and deliver the cooked food to Drake. The refurbished space on Drake allows us to do more prep there and it has been great for staff morale, but having a full kitchen there would allow us to tailor the menus to each campus. I'm told that will require both space and money! We could have a pasta bar and a grill line and expand our offerings here on Garth. We could also provide more gluten-free options.
In the kitchen, I’m never without …
A knife and a pair of non-slip shoes.
What’s different about your work here?
Less stress and more student interaction, also more flexibility in terms of what I can cook and the ingredients I use.
What’s your philosophy of cooking?
We want to offer a well-balanced meal and encourage good choices. It needs to look good, smell good, and taste good. And I don't cook what they don't like. Since the younger students are less adventurous about what they'll eat that limits us. Some of the things I make over here that are a bit different are grilled crab legs, shrimp tacos, and bananas foster. The kids love Pierre's fried chicken and the beignets.
Describe a great day at work.
All my staff are healthy, the food delivery is on time, students are smiling and eating.
What are three things we might be surprised to find in the kitchen?
Nori (dried seaweed), oxtail, and deep-fried Twinkies. The nori was to make sushi for a catered event. The oxtail was for a staff meal. The Twinkies are for an Upper School Carnival Day.
What are some things you love about working at Randolph?
I like how we take care of our staff and the consideration we share for each other. I'm always blown away by how the administrators help to clean up after events.
Where can you be found most days?
In the Garth Commons. I enjoy hearing from students about what they like or don't like. I can't do better if I don't know how we're doing. And I like to give staff feedback, if they're doing a great job, they need to hear that, too! I'm not a fan of the comment box, it just lends itself to negativity. I'd rather thay come talk to us. This morning I was asked about making a Korean clay pot dish. I will see if there's a version of that we could make.
Favorite school tradition?
I love the Kindergarten-Senior Buddies tradition — I wish I'd had that when I was in school, but much closer for me is Ms. Betty. She takes care of me, too. Without her, I'd never have a good day.
Favorite time of the school year?
March. We have the faculty/staff Low Country boil and the day after I made beignets for the students. I take them table to table. Also, in March, the Interim Cooking trip returns from Nashville. The students come back to campus and cook a meal for their parents. I like having them in my kitchen. It's fun to be around that excitement and help students are excited about cooking.