Daniel Krupka: The Man Behind the Meals

man posing in kitchen
Categories: Prairie News

Daniel Krupka smiles as he brings lunch over to a couple of Winnipeg Booth Centre clients.

At a little after 11 a.m. on a Thursday morning, clients of the Winnipeg Booth Centre begin to make their way into the cafeteria on the main floor.

Kitchen manager Daniel Krupka greets them all individually with a smile.

“I pretty much grew up in the food industry, since I was about 14 years old,” says Krupka, who has been overseeing the Winnipeg Booth Centre kitchen for more than 10 years now. “My parents used to own a restaurant, and I started making French fries and burgers, things like that.

“I would do like 300 pounds of French fries a day, hand cut through the fry-cutter. That was my after-school duties.”

After high school, Krupka attended what is now the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology to study Culinary Arts, and worked in a variety of different kitchens in Winnipeg before he was told about an opening in the kitchen at the Winnipeg Booth Centre.

He was hired on, and quickly realized his new work environment wasn’t going to be like what he had become accustomed to working in restaurants.

“It’s the clients; getting to interact with them, getting to know them and their special dietary needs,” Krupka says. “You really get to know them. At restaurant you never get to talk to the clients, to your customers, as often as we do here. It feels good.

“I’ve always been a compassionate and understanding person, and I treat everyone with dignity and respect.”

Daniel Krupka poses for a photo with a Winnipeg Booth Centre client.

Currently, the Winnipeg Booth Centre clients are enjoying watching the Winnipeg Jets make a run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Krupka and his kitchen staff will put the games on during dinner and the clients all rally around cheering for the hometown team.

“Everybody in here has a common ground right now, a common vision, common goal,” Krupka says. “Before I open up the kitchen I yell out, “Go Jets go!” to the clients and it gets them all buzzed. It’s a little thing, but it gets them all involved.”

The kitchen employs a couple of cooks and kitchen helpers as well, and together, Krupka and his team serve three meals per day. In 2017, the Winnipeg Booth Centre kitchen served a total of 181,802 individual meals, or just under 498 per day.

“We take great pride in what we do here,” Krupka says. “Myself, along with the kitchen staff, when we do a good job on making a certain item or a meal, we get a lot of compliments. People will walk by and say, ‘Thank you, that was really good,’ or, ‘Awesome,’ or a thumbs up, and we all feel good about that. We’ve done our job, we’ve made a client happy with the meal they’ve received, and it makes their day too.

“Everyone enjoys a good meal, it’s a good start to the day and then hopefully that continues.”