How long have you worked as a cook for the UI? I came to this country from Guatemala in 1988 and started working at the Union in September of that year. Have you worked as a cook since the beginning? I started as a kitchen laborer, washing dishes. In the beginning, my English wasn't so good, but washing dishes doesn't take a lot of skills. It was something they could show me how to do. But I knew I didn't want to stay as a dishwasher. I wanted to work my way up. So, after 2 1/2 years, I asked my supervisor to give me the opportunity to learn new skills. I said, "If you have the patience to work with me, I can learn." I really enjoy doing this for now, but I want to continue my education. I'm preparing for my GED and taking classes at Parkland. My favorite subject is math, and I'm interesting in studying accounting. Did you have any prior cooking experience - on the job or at home? No. Mom did the cooking, and my Dad and I worked on the farm. When you're away from the job, do you cook at home now, or do you try to avoid that? I like to avoid it, but I do it anyway ... you have to eat! I like to eat out if I can, but it's more expensive. Are you enjoying the change of pace resulting from moving the food service operation outside this summer? It's a lot more fun. I like being outside, hanging out, seeing the weather changes. When it's not hot, it's more comfortable than working inside. Besides the heat, are there any other drawbacks to cooking outside? When it rains. One day we closed because it rained so hard, but most of the time if it rains, we just put the grill under the tent. What are the most popular items on the menu? People eat a lot of hot dogs, grilled chicken and hamburgers. Polish sausages, too. What do you like most about the job? The hours are comfortable. In the summer I work from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.