When new teachers arrive here and people ask them what makes this place special, a lot of people say ‘lunch.’
table has three servers, and each long table has six student servers who serve and clean up their table every day, for the entire school year. Fourth graders serve food and drinks and clean up the dishes, and third graders wipe down the table after each meal. “I like serving. It’s good teamwork and it’s good to help people. And the other kids at my table say ‘thank you’ and they help when there are spills,” explains third grader Lila di Florio. “Family-style lunch gives kids independence. My son takes being a server very seriously. And the assigned seating helps prevent cliques and helps kids make friends with students in
other grades,” relays Hannah Stebbins, mom to Luke Resetarits, a current fourth grader. By the time students arrive in Upper School, designated servers aren’t even needed. Students take turns serving themselves and each other and work together to make sure lunchtime runs smoothly and efficiently. Students bond over their shared responsibilities as well as the healthful, soul-satisfying meals that come out of our school’s kitchen: comforting chicken noodle soup, cozy Muenster bagels, warm apple pie at Thanksgiving. “I feel sorry for Michelle and Betty. They try to create new dishes, but they have so many old favorites that people want,” explains Mr. Nusbaum.
This year marks Chef Whittle’s 25th (and Chef Bovell’s 24th) year at Cathedral. Their chicken is so good that former Head of School Phil Foote would wrap extra pieces in napkins and put them in the pockets of his blazer at the end of lunch. As Chef Whittle tells us, “His wife said their dry cleaner was always complaining about all the crumbs in his pocket.” A Whittle-made meal is difficult to resist. Luciana Taddei ’04, current Kindergarten Associate teacher, is grateful to be back in the Cathedral lunchroom, where lunches are just as healthy and delicious as she remembers from her student dining days. The serving style has remained the same as well, and the responsibilities she learned as a young Cathedral diner have carried through into her adult life. “I loved being a server. It taught me how to care for and help others, especially at mealtimes.” s Valerie Dillard is executive assistant to Head of School Marsha Nelson. In her pre-Cathedral life, she was a managing editor at Philadelphia magazine. She currently lives in Riverdale, where she spends her evenings preparing cozy meals for her new husband, thanks to bountiful cooking tips from our school chefs, Michelle and Betty.
TH E M A G A Z I N E O F TH E CATH E D RA L SCH OOL OF S T. J OH N THE DI VI NE