At school yesterday at lunch as I was enjoying my quinoa salad, sun dried tomato hummus and seafood bisque (true story) I began to reflect a bit on school lunch, and just how far we have come with regard to healthy choices and nutrition. Lunch is an important time for children and faculty alike – it’s a good time to take a breath in the middle of the day, talk to friends and socialize.
Several years ago we made the decision to explore some different food service options and decided to go with a new provider. Throughout the process, one thing became clear - as is the case in all areas of school life – it’s about the people more than anything else. So, while we went with a really good company, the manager has made all of the difference. Conversely, I believe if we had gone with a superstar company with a mediocre chef-manager the change would not nearly be as positive.
When you stop to think about it, being the chef in an independent school is no easy task. It’s a challenging job to feed 500 people daily, while managing the palates of five-year olds through adults, and young people with a number of different things to be mindful of, from celiac disease to food allergies or diets that are informed by their religion. Nevertheless, our chef, and the talented staff that he assembled, handles it all with aplomb.
Our staff have a personal connection with the kids, and seem to have gotten to know them all by name in a very short while. They implore our students to ‘put something green on their plate’, to ‘try the whipped cauliflower (tastes just like mashed potatoes)’ and they listen to their feedback and suggestions.
Well, off to lunch - fajitas, cilantro lime rice and tortilla soup awaits!