Behind the Scenes of the Wildcat Kitchen


Julia Maushardt, Writer

Each day, hundreds of students race eagerly to the growing lunch line, each just as hungry as the next. Some will purchase a slice of Chef Jose’s fresh, cheesy pizza. Others will grab a hearty salad or a package of California rolls, while yet more students will join the line to receive the day’s hot entrée. Some even skip to the snack line for a cold chocolate milkshake and a warm quesadilla. Café codes have become sacred; one must only punch in six numbers and quench just about any craving.

Yet who is behind this seemingly simple system? Most are familiar with the name Epicurean―students who have taken a class with Mr. Thompson will even know its definition: the appreciation of luxuries such as good food and drink. Epicurean is a local catering company specializing in corporate and campus restaurants. Founded in 2003 by former Bon Appétit employees, the company provides meals not only for Marin Catholic, but for San Domenico, Marin Academy, Dominican University, and Branson as well. Chef Jose Rodriguez and Marcelle KachKach work together each week to develop meal plans using seasonal produce and the freshest local ingredients available.

The close to a dozen Marin Catholic Epicurean employees begin cooking at 7 a.m. each day in preparation for the daily rush of students hungry for “breakfast boosters” and a quick burst of morning pep before class. By the end of the day, between 1500 and 2000 transactions will have been made; the average daily revenue clocks in at around $5,500 to $6,000! In addition to being planned in terms of quality, the quantity of food is thoughtfully calculated in order to leave a minimal amount of leftovers; anything remaining at the end of the week is given to staff and their families.

For Wildcats willing to get involved, students 16 years or older may receive a work permit from Marin Catholic to work alongside the Epicurean employees in exchange for free food and a paycheck―commodities craved daily by teenagers. In addition, Epicurean’s website provides the recipes to several seasonal meals, including lush fudge cake, a saccharine rhubarb fool, and a holiday eggnog pudding, allowing access delicious food anytime. Their goal is to turn wholesome and healthy into savory and sweet. So this Christmas, be thankful for not having to pack a lunch each night. Be thankful for six-digit café codes that prevent the awkward struggle of counting out crumpled dollar bills. And lastly, be thankful for the 11 employees who wait patiently behind the glass counters five days a week, armed with spoons and tongs, ready for the flood of growling stomachs.