After almost 25 years as a cook at Cuyamaca Outdoor School, Leon Bullock has prepared thousands of meals for hundreds of thousands of students.
Bullock became interested in cooking as a child while watching his mother prepare meals. He became a cook in the Navy and wanted to keep doing it once his service was finished. He decided he especially wanted to cook for kids.
“I enjoy cooking,” he said. “I like to see the people happy.”
His days are busy, but it’s always worth it to see the smiles on the kids’ faces, he said.
He gets to camp at 6 a.m. each morning to prepare breakfast. Shortly after that’s done, he’s onto dinner. The camp’s other cook, Willie Sunico, prepares lunch in the meantime. There are two cooks, four food service workers and a child nutrition supervisor at the camp.
Although breakfasts tend to be the same from week to week, Bullock said he mixes it up with dinner, putting together a plan each Monday. He also needs to plan for students with special diets while preparing meals for as many as 400 students a day as well as teachers and support workers.
Over the years, he said he’s figured out what works and what doesn’t, which has made it easier to prepare such a staggering amount of food.
“It’s all about the timing,” he said. “I’ve got it down pat now.”