Chefs who make a difference

These 10 chefs are influential not only in their operations but their communities as well.

Eli Huff
Executive Chef, Culinary Operations Coordinator
Union Public Schools
Tulsa, Okla.

Why Eli?
According to Lisa Griffin, R.D., director of child nutrition:

“Eli Huff is making a difference in 15,000 student lives. He has transformed our school meals into healthy, tasty meals that kids look forward to eating. Our participation has increased by 5% for lunch and 11% for breakfast, largely due to Eli’s great food, even when the new regulations caused other districts to decrease in participation!

Eli has developed relationships with students. They are excited when they see him in the schools and know him on a first-name basis. Many times he is seen with young students hugging his legs and getting his undivided attention. Staff have embraced Eli’s ideas and training, learned new techniques, and become engaged and proud of their newfound skills. Eli has raised our farm-to-school program to a higher level, optimizing the usage of local foods, and providing healthier, fresher choices. He has started culinary internship opportunities in our cafeterias for culinary students from nearby college programs. Most interns choose to become our employees, which raises our professional competencies.

Eli has a big heart. When the tornado left Moore, Okla., in shambles, Eli took food and supplies to the affected people. He was so touched by the devastation and needs that he came up with an idea to help the students that were affected by the tornado. He, along with three other chef friends, developed Chef Aid, a food event that brought about 40 restaurants and suppliers together to raise money by providing meals and a silent auction. The event was put together in less than three weeks, raised $70,000 in profit, and was successful because of Eli’s efforts, abilities to organize, connections with a multitude of influential people and organizations in the community and peers’ respect for him.

When Eli’s name is mentioned, the reaction is the same from everyone: ‘Wonderful!’”

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
oversized portions

Here are the trends FSD's Chefs’ Council members wish would go away.

Kale Gluten-free Sriracha Chipotle Microgreens on everything Sous vide cooking Aversion to bread Healthy desserts Vegan diets Lies about local sourcing/organic food Fast food Cupcakes Pumpkin spice Fat-free or low-fat Meatless Mondays Bread cones Rigid child nutrition guidelines Bacon on everything Cajun Doughnuts with over-the-top toppings Oversized portions Fried foods Pinterest
Ideas and Innovation
Frose

Frose, sushi burgers and single-item restaurants are hot topics as of late, according to Forbes, which recently released a list of seven buzzwords in the foodservice world. Here’s what’s trending, in no particular order.

Blended burgers Frozecco and frose Goth food Hemp Single-item restaurants Sushi burger Upcycling
Industry News & Opinion
MeuDirections

One of my favorite cartoons shows a commander whose soldiers are in the midst of fighting a war with bows and arrows. Without turning around, he tells a man who has come up behind him, “I’m sorry, I’m too busy to talk to you.” The man was a rifle salesman.

In today’s time-pressed world, we are all too busy. So, it can be difficult to find time to reach out to others for ideas, solutions and best practices. But as that cartoon illustrates, it’s critical to being successful. The sharing of knowledge is a pillar of FoodService Director . Through our magazine and events, we have been...

Ideas and Innovation
chefs

We started inviting chefs and FSDs from other districts to come prepare lunch. Through featuring different chefs and chef-inspired meals, I’ve found the students have been looking forward to coming into the cafeteria. They are willing to try new things with crazy names, and to ask for their favorite outside items turned healthy.

FSD Resources