The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

New Cafeteria Chef Whips Up Fresh Ideas

What do Indianapolis Colts star quarterback Andrew Luck and The San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh have in common?

They both were fueled with meals cooked by the person who is now in charge of the Los Altos High School cafeteria: James Godfrey.

Godfrey worked at Stanford for five years before coming to work in the school cafeteria part-time last year. He was promoted to head chef of the cafeteria in February after head chef Christine Garcia left the school.

“James is a great person–he loves to cook, he is personable, and he can cook [well],” said Avis Doctor, the MVLA district worker who hired Godfrey. “We just love the way that he handles the staff and our students.”

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Much of James’s cooking experience comes from his time at Stanford, where he cooked for one of Stanford’s dining halls, Manzanita, and for the football team. As a chef for the football team, he spent a lot of time with the players.

“Andrew Luck—he’s my buddy,” Godfrey said. “In the morning, he’d get a vegetarian omelette with egg whites, small bit of olive oil…and when we had this lobster dish, [he’d] always get it. [Stanford’s football players] are very neat guys. I liked them all.”

Godfrey also had the opportunity to get to know the Stanford football coaches, including Harbaugh.
“[Harbaugh is a] super guy,” Godfrey said. “[For breakfast] he’d have… a smaller omelette, I’d only use two egg whites, small amount of vegetables, and no oil at all, no grease, no nothing…he’d hardly ever come for lunch but when he did come for lunch, he’d always have chicken.”
Now that he is the head chef, Godfrey is working to implement numerous changes to improve the school cafeteria. Many of his ideas are based off of his experience working at Stanford.
One of the biggest changes Godfrey has begun to put in effect is having a more culturally diverse range of meals in the cafeteria.
“There’s a lot of different nationalities here so what I want to do is once a month, have a different variety of food like Italian food, Spanish food, Asian food, American food, Indian food, whatever, so some of those kids can feel at home and feel like their culture is here,” Godfrey said.
Godfrey has already added a taco salad to the menu and plans to add other dishes such as curry, spaghetti and meatballs and Asian kung pao chicken in the future. He also hopes to expand the vegan and vegetarian options so vegan and vegetarian students have more options when they come to the cafeteria.
Godfrey’s third idea is to offer breakfast food to students during brunch. The cafeteria currently only sells snacks such as cinnamon rolls, muffins, and pop tarts at brunch. New ideas include breakfast burritos, french toast and waffles, to name a few.
In addition to increasing the variety of food options, Godfrey is working to improve the overall cafeteria atmosphere. One way he hopes to accomplish this is by being approachable and energetic while serving kids.
“When the kids come in, they want to come into a friendly face, a nice personality,” Godfrey said. “I want to greet them and say ‘Hi, how you doing, how was your weekend?’ and get familiar with them. Once you get familiar with a kid, they come in…just to speak, maybe not even get anything, just to come in to say ‘hi.’”
He’s been working towards having music playing in the cafeteria–in both the dining room and serving room.
“When [students] come in from Stanford and hear music, they get into it and have a good time and they feel good because the cafeteria isn’t just a dining room where they go sit down and eat,” Godfrey said.
Godfrey talked the administration into allowing for a sound system to be installed and predicts that by next year, they’ll have music in the cafeteria.
Even though only a few of Godfrey’s ideas have been put into place so far, the school cafeteria is already seeing an increase in customers.
“Before Mountain View was beating us in sales–now we’re beating the crap out of them in sales,” Godfrey said. “That’s because more students are coming in and eating now. So I’m happy about that, because…that means we’re doing something right.”

The cafeteria is on track to improve even more next year, when Godfrey will have fully carried out his plans for an increased diversity of dish options and a more spirited atmosphere in the cafeteria.

“Next year, man, this place is going to be rolling,” Godfrey said.

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