In a normal week of Oswegatchie Summer Camp, we will do 5 days of food service, feeding 3 meals a day to over 250 people per meal. You will have campers with special dietary needs, surprise dietary needs, and campers who just need a PB & J made the way mom would do it. Plus you need to manage the dishwashers, kitchen sanitation, plan menus, place orders, and train your assistants. It’s the equivalent of running a successful restaurant from the ground up every summer for 8 weeks. On top of all this, there are often weekend groups that hire food service as well.
Life in the kitchen is tough, and so many things can happen. Everything from propane shortages, electrical issues, tired staff, delivery trucks that do not deliver, super-hot summers and running out of brown sugar. Whoever fills the ranks of Food Service Director has a lot on their plate. If enough stuff goes wrong, the camp management will have 10x more problems if they don’t get it fixed. (Whoa, starting to have summer camp flashbacks!)
You ask any camp director, and they will tell you the 2 positions hardest to fill are Food Service Director and Camp Medical Staff. If your lucky, the medical person’s toughest problem will be boredom from not enough work to do. Unfortunately, you cannot say the same about life in the kitchen.
Since 2006, Oswegatchie has been lucky to have an excellent woman in charge of the kitchen. She brings the hustle to the kitchen and a ton of knowledge on how to get good food to the masses. She has earned much love and respect from her kitchen foot soldiers, and many non-kitchen staff help in the kitchen just to get the experience.
This woman is Karen Ax, and as long she is frying up the bacon, we are all going to be in good hands. If you are every at Oswegatchie and you hear someone being called “Momma Ax”, Karen is who they are talking about!