Please share a little of your K-12 school nutrition journey.

I was ready to return to work when my youngest children—twins—started kindergarten in 1997, and a friend suggested I become a substitute in their cafeteria. But my background of managing supermarket deli departments actually made me eligible for full-time work in school foodservice. I was initially hired as a cook, eventually moving into the district’s Assistant Manager program. I also took culinary and business classes at our local community college and stepped into my first role as a manager in 2008.

I joined SNA around 2001, but I didn’t start attending SNA’s Annual National Conferences (ANC) until 2017. My favorite ANC was Las Vegas in 2018, when I represented Florida as its Manager of the Year!

What TV series are you binge-watching these days?

My husband and I have been watching “Ted Lasso.” I love its positivity and fast-paced humor.

What would be your first purchase if you won the lottery?

I’d buy a family vacation house on the beach—one that I would find with the help of HGTV’s “My Lottery Dream Home”!

What celebrities or historical figures would top your dinner party guest list?

Eleanor Roosevelt. She was an amazing woman who accomplished so much, especially at a time when most women were not taken seriously. I’d also invite Ansel Adams. I really enjoy his landscape photos and would love to hear more about the places he traveled to and the stories behind his images.

What’s the best advice you have received?

My culinary instructor, “Chef,” instilled in us the fact that we should never avoid doing something we want to do simply because it’s hard or takes more work.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Get your college degree now so you can pursue other interesting opportunities within school nutrition. It’s hard to go to school while you’re working full-time and managing a family.

What was the worst job you ever had?

As a teenager, I worked in the deli department of a local supermarket, where I had to clean and prep rotisserie chickens, then put them on a spit and load them into the huge oven. If they weren’t mounted carefully, they would fall off while cooking!

If you couldn’t work in school nutrition, what would be your next dream job?

I’d be a food stylist and photographer. I enjoy photography as a hobby—and I love cooking!

What’s one item you can’t live without?

My phone! It keeps me connected to my four children—and now my grandchildren—and to other family when I can’t be with them in person.

What would you request if a genie granted you three wishes?

Universal meals for all students, so all we need to ask them for is a smile! I’d also request a cure for cancer and more kindness in this world.

Headshot of Cathy Uzar

Cathy Uzar

Food & Nutrition Manager

Martin County, Florida

Martin County (Fla.) School District