CIA Opens Kitchen to School Districts

Symposium gives child nutrition professionals hands-on menu development opportunities.

As schools look for ways to meet the new school meal regulations and to increase the amount of from-scratch items, menu development training is becoming increasingly important. In April, The Culinary Institute of America opened its kitchen to 14 school foodservice professionals from seven districts for the Getting Back to Your Roots Symposium, sponsored by Schwan’s Food Service. The three-day conference based at the CIA’s San Antonio campus focused on culinary development, with an emphasis on plate presentation and creating food for children’s palates. FSD talked with Mark Ainsworth, CEC, professor of culinary at the CIA and the architect of the symposium, about the conference and what attendees learned. 

The group poses for a shot at the CIA’s San Antonio campus. The districts each sent two representatives. The seven districts are: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Cobb County School District in Georgia, Mesa Public Schools, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Minneapolis Public Schools, San Diego Unified School District and Northside Independent School District in San Antonio.

“We wanted to get them out of their day-to-day and into a new environment to foster ideas,” Ainsworth says about the reasoning behind creating the symposium. “They need training to help them meet the new school regulations in creative ways, using cooking methods they use every day.”

Ainsworth says he wanted to create an environment where school foodservice professionals would gain new menu items without being in unfamiliar territory. Ainsworth spent two years working with schools, so he says he is familiar with the equipment constraints that most schools are dealing with. For that reason, he ensured participants at the conference were using equipment that can be found in most school kitchens.  

Pages

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
chicken wings

We started advertising our chicken wings as halal wings with assorted sauces. Our inspiration was to inform customers of an option that was available but not widely known. By changing our approach to our marketing efforts, we were able to exponentially increase participation in the consumption of our halal menu items.

Managing Your Business
busy kitchen

While catering a wedding for a previous employer years ago, Rahul Shrivastav—now director of catering at University of Michigan—found himself in a panic when an elevator malfunction put salad service on hold. “The wedding was in a very old building and the elevator had issues,” he says. “We had 200 plated salads in the freight elevator when it got stuck. The dinner needed to start—they were doing their toasts.” In a panic, Shrivastav hustled up a plan B: His team would station a chef outside the ballroom, and he’d plate new salads right there.

Luckily, the elevator was fixed in...

Menu Development
beau rivage resort blended burger

Stealth health is so 1998. When author Evelyn Tribole’s original book on sneaking healthy add-ons into meals was published nearly 20 years ago, there may have been a genuine nutrition need to fill. But as today’s diners are increasingly requesting more produce at the center of the plate, another need has taken the lead: a desire for creativity. Here’s how operators are openly blending meat with other ingredients—or eliminating animal products entirely—to take protein to another level.

In April, dining halls at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., began offering the Beyond Burger, a...

Ideas and Innovation
desserts plate

We’re knocking down a wall in our bar area, which will create a more inviting atmosphere and allow us to host a coffee and dessert bar in the space on off nights when the bar is closed.

FSD Resources