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
coffee shop trailor graphic

A familiar face is coming to the roads of Rutgers University this fall: the Starbucks mermaid. The New Brunswick, N.J.-based school is testing a Starbucks truck throughout the upcoming semester, NJ.com reports . The company began testing trucks on college campuses in 2014, and now has mobile locations at Arizona State University, James Madison University in Virginia, East Carolina University in North Carolina and Sacramento State in California.

The trucks will serve the full lineup of Starbucks beverages that’s available at the outlet’s brick-and-mortar location at Rutgers,...

Industry News & Opinion

A study from Virginia Tech has found a connection between school meal participation and obesity in students. From data that predates the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act , the findings raise questions over whether nutrition standards go far enough.

The research evaluated data from 1998 to 2007, comparing first through eighth grade students who partook in free and reduced-price lunch and those who qualified but opted out. Wen You, associate professor in the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech, says she expected to validate theories that increased breakfast...

Industry News & Opinion

Buffalo Public Schools is turning to local chefs and a little competition to help create new menu items, the Buffalo News reports .

In October, local chefs will compete against each other and a team of seven to 10 students led by chef Bobby Anderson, a former contestant on “Hell’s Kitchen,” to create lunch recipes that comply with USDA nutritional requirements and use seasonal produce sourced locally.

“This Chef Challenge is another way to engage our youth in a fun, friendly competition with local area chefs who can help create appealing recipes that will be incorporated...

Industry News & Opinion

After being sued by the Services Employees International Union over its decision to change vendors from Sodexo to Morrison, the foodservice arm at Mayo Clinic continues to face backlash from staff.

Foodservice employees at the Rochester, Minn., hospital last week handed over a petition 1,200 signatures deep asking that they remain with their current employer, Fox 9 reports .

While a Mayo Clinic spokesperson said that staff will be given similar positions and pay rates under Morrison, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota—the union representing much of the hospital’s foodservice staff—...

FSD Resources