UConn’s Catering Department is looking to up student involvement 


Chefs at the UCONN Catering Department cook up their meals for the day's events.   Photo by Spencer Bennett / The Daily Campus

Chefs at the UCONN Catering Department cook up their meals for the day’s events. Photo by Spencer Bennett / The Daily Campus

The University of Connecticut Catering Department is currently looking for potential student workers to assist in both on- and off-campus events. 

The Catering Department, headed by Steve Wojtyna, employs up to 30 full-time staff and aims to have 70 to 80 students working with them from year-to-year. These students can fill a variety of positions depending on their experience and time spent with the Catering Department, and the Student Manager is always on the lookout for students to join them. 

“The Student Manager hires our students, and then he’ll do a quick interview and see if there’s any food service background, which is preferred but not always necessary, but there’s very different jobs in catering as a student,” Wojtyna said. “You can come in and be what’s called regular hours where you’re in-house and you’re being a supplier of labor, and then the next level would be a server. Their responsibility is to make sure that buffet is plentiful with food, switched out and looks clean. The high-end job is we train them one step further, and now you’re a server, so now you’re actually going out there, and we’ll have you full-serve a 180 people or more.” 

These students play a pivotal role in the Catering Department according to Wojtyna, so he encourages anyone who has any kind of interest in the department to submit an application. Students who are interested in applying should begin the process soon, according to Wojtyna, as there are numerous forms they need to get before they can start. 

“Nowadays you need to have the original copy of your birth certificate, the original copy of your social security card and a 1099 form. When you’re here on campus and your home is far away, to get that stuff to you requires, you know, that you travel back or you have your parents send it to you,” Wojtyna said. “I think that holds us up because after that happens you have to go over to Towers and get processed, but without those three pieces of documentation, it’s a roadblock.” 

The Catering Department is currently planning a pop-up dinner for sometime within the next few months.   Photo by Spencer Bennett / The Daily Campus

The Catering Department is currently planning a pop-up dinner for sometime within the next few months. Photo by Spencer Bennett / The Daily Campus

The work these students do in tandem with the work of the full-time staff goes toward a variety of different events, ranging from school events to club dinners to weddings, Wojtyna said. Because they can cater for a variety of different causes, he made a major focus on having the staff be knowledgeable of the various cultures they could potentially encounter. 

“We had a lot of authentic groups, a lot of cultural groups that wanted to have a banquet, a cultural event in our ballroom, and the food we were putting out wasn’t authentic, so they started coming to me when I got here, and I actually went out and sourced chefs from that authenticity area, from that region and have them come and work with us and teach us how to cook those kinds of foods,” Wojtyna said.  

Providing all of their clientele with the best the Catering Department has to offer has always been a major goal for Wojtyna, and that includes students. Wojtyna says that the department looks for ways to give back to the student body, and he found that “pop-up dinners” have proven to be a great way to thank students while also introducing them to new styles of food. 

“The first one we did, we put it out in The Daily Campus and the Daily Digest that we’re going to have this pop-up dinner in three weeks. We market it out there that it’s maybe a swipe for dinner, and we tell you what day it is and what time it is, but we don’t tell you where it is,” Wojtyna said. “The day of the event we’ll tell you, ‘alright, you need to go to this place.’ One we did recently was over at the greenhouse … It was so beautiful, and the menu that we did that night for the greenhouse was an all-vegetarian meal.” 

The Catering Department is currently planning a pop-up dinner for sometime within the next few months, and Wojtyna says that anyone interested in attending one should keep their eyes open for an announcement in The Daily Campus or the Daily Digest. 

Thomas Alvarez is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at thomas.alvarez@uconn.edu.

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