Person of the week: Baker prepares students for knowledge with a good meal

Judy Baker wakes up every day with food on her mind. But it is not because she is hungry.

“I’ve always had an immense interest in cooking and nutrition,” said Baker, the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District director for child nutrition, who is responsible for maintaining operations at the district’s cafeterias. “I would attribute that to my mother because she always pushed me towards nutrition.”

Baker has made her passion a career working at HCISD in child nutrition for the past 15 years, she said.

“I love my job,” Baker said. “I love working with the children and making sure our students have healthy meals every day. We are here to help them learn about what good nutrition is, and understand how they can apply that to the choices they make in life.”

Baker is responsible for the overall direction of the department, ordering food, creating the menu and product development, she said.

Baker brought an extensive resume in food preparation and nutrition to HCISD. She has worked as a fine dining director for Golden Palms retirement home, as a nutrition director at Brownsville Independent School District, and as a kitchen aide in a college dormitory at Texas Tech University.

“I worked more than 40 hours a week in the college dorm kitchen,” Baker said. “It gave me pride for the work I was doing to put myself through school, pride in my ability to help other students and pride that at such a young age I knew I wanted to be involved with nutrition.”

Baker’s infatuation with food has not subsided, and in the future she hopes to take on a new category of the food world, she said.

“I hope to go to culinary school one day,” Baker said. “I think that will be the last piece of the puzzle of my fixation with food and nutrition.”

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