Healthy eating is a big part of your life, early on as a child and maybe even more so in your adult life.
And for Newport High School’s kitchen manager, Brittney Bacon, a commitment to that not only has her and her family living healthy lives, but it has also brought along recognition from her peers. Bacon was awarded 2019 Kitchen Manager of the Year.
“I don’t know what they gaged for me to become kitchen manager of the year, but in my thinking, I think the award is given to somebody who is excellent at what they do,” Bacon said. “You manage people properly; the food is really good and it’s just a good work experience for everyone.”
Bacon, originally a lead cook and chef, has been at Newport High for a year, but has been at Newport Middle School for three and she also worked in the kitchen at Waldport High School, as well.
Her commitment to the children she feeds every day keeps her motivated and positive not just to provide them with healthy and delicious food, but also help them develop tips and techniques to live a healthier life.
“They really require more of me than just making food,” she said. “I am talking to teachers; I am helping do demonstrations for some classes and they want me to come in and talk to the gardening program about what the good foods are and how to put them together and stuff like that.
“It’s really much more of a manager role, I am all over the place.”
Bacon graduated from Newport High School in 1999 and left with experience in the cooking field. She took specialized classes during her time as a Cub, giving her a solid foundation for her next career move.
She spent the next few years finishing her cooking courses and getting her degree. On top of it all, Bacon was a mother— and is now a mother of three.
Bacon has been working on and off at Fishtails Cafe for the last 19 years, where she is a lead cook and helps training others, but she wanted something where she could be with her family as well.
She began working for Sodexo and the school district, which she credits for helping her raise her family, while also being able to work flexible hours.
“This is very much my passion,” Bacon said. “But when I left there (Fishtails Cafe), I really wanted something where I could be with my kids.”
Bacon worked at Waldport first and started out as a trio of people, but it only took a week for Bacon to be promoted to the lead role.
It was a position that she had talked about getting with her boss before, but when they saw her in action, the only thing they could do was offer her a promotion.
“With my background of cooking and managing people, she promoted me,” Bacon said.
She spent a year in Waldport, before heading back to Newport. Bacon took the kitchen manager role at the middle school for three years before moving on to the high school.
And for Bacon, the high school level is more of an encompassing position. Whether it’s playing music during lunch or having lunch with students, Bacon does whatever she can to develop a positive relationship with the students she feeds daily.
“These kids and especially the high school level, you don’t get a lot of them coming in, but I get a few that come in and have lunch with me,” Bacon said. “I put music on for them to listen to while they are eating lunch and breakfast.
“I try to make it a good atmosphere for them and I want the kids to come and talk to me.”
That dialogue can not only build a positive relationship between staff and students, but Bacon’s expertise on healthy eating and nutrition can be a plus for any student at Newport high school.