Meet the Red Door Baristas - Paige

Meet the Red Door Baristas

Damian Wilson | Humans of Caltech

Red Door, the campus café so inextricable from Caltech existence that it requires no introduction. As such, Red Door staff—tasked with nourishing the endless onslaught of Techers that come its way—deserve as much as anyone for their voices to be heard in The California Tech. The following interview, conducted with Assistant Manager Paige Gilli, is the inaugural entry of a new series with that very aim.

**Lovely to meet you, Paige! If I may begin, how did you come to join Caltech’s most beloved scarlet-doored eatery? **

That’s a beautiful way of putting it. I applied for the barista position and was lucky enough to be offered this position [Assistant Manager] instead. I came across the job posting on Indeed, and that’s exactly how I got introduced to it.

Any favorite memories on the job?

I think my favorite part of working at Red Door—this isn’t a specific memory—is you guys. The students here are the best customers I’ve ever had. Honestly._ Even with the chaos of the Anytime plan and it being such a busy place. You guys are so patient and so wonderful to serve. I’ve worked a lot of places, and I feel like the customers here don’t compare to anyone else._

**That’s so sweet of you! As Assistant Manager, how would you describe the role that Red Door plays in campus life? Would Caltech be as Caltech without it? **

Definitely not. We were actually just discussing amongst the staff that Red Door is usually the only place that’s open—not only until 2:00 am, but on holidays, we’re the only dining place that’s here. Red Door has become the heart of campus in a lot of ways, and it feels like the identity of student life.

What about your position might surprise the average Techer?

There isn’t any role that I don’t play. That’s one of the fun things about getting to work here! I step into the cook position, I step into the barista position, and—even though my name is Manager—I’m mostly on the floor like everyone else. I just ghost around more.

Wow. What day-to-day challenges might you face as a result?

There are lots of challenges about working here. I’d say that the volume that we do is absolutely the biggest challenge in working in such a small space. And, trying to cater to everyone’s needs—this college does a wonderful job of being very thoughtful and considerate of dietary needs, of religious needs, of everything all the students need. With limited staff and being here until 2:00 in the morning—we don’t get out of here until 3:30—it can be very challenging somedays. For today, we had four call-offs. We’re very lucky to work with a staffing agency here. That’s another beautiful, rare thing about working in dining at Caltech; there’s always coverage when someone calls off, though that doesn’t change the challenges you then face.

And, of course: What’s your favorite item on the menu? What do you wish were on the menu?

Currently, that is on the menu right now, the carnita sandwich is my go-to. What I wish were on the menu is more cold items. I really wish we had pasta salad and potato salad. More soups would be really lovely. Even just deli sandwiches that are cold and ready to go would be a really nice addition. And anytime we serve the bowls on the weekends—those are super popular—it would be really great if we could introduce more of them. Yet, with ingredients really limited based on our space, we have to use them across the board and in as many items as possible. It’s challenging to have a really big menu! But I would like to see a bowl that’s available every day.

Anything you’d like to sign off with?

Just that it’s a pleasure to work here, and you never know what might happen at the Red Door!

Thank you so much for your time, Paige! You and the other hardworking staff at Red Door deserve all the appreciation in the world.

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