What You Need To Know: November 2013

This month: all-beef burgers are booted in Fairfax schools, guacamole and chips are a hit at Northwestern University, Metz's Live Well program adds whole grains into its concept and more.

Published in FSD Update

> Metz’s Live Well program goes “grain”y

Metz Culinary Management, based in Dallas, Pa., has expanded the depth of its Live Well nutrition program by introducing a whole-grains initiative into the concept. The initiative, which includes recipes and point-of-sale materials, was rolled out in Metz’s corporate, university and healthcare accounts, with an expansion into the K-12 market planned for later this year.

Ryan McNulty, director of culinary development, says the foodservice management firm partnered with one of its vendors to introduce new products and create recipes around those items. The goal was to make the nutrition program stronger for vegetarians and vegans.

The items include wild rice, bulgur, quinoa, wheat berries, kamut, sprouted brown rice and an orzo blend. McNulty and his team came up with a number of recipes for dishes like composed salads and breakfast parfaits.

“We even came up with a quesadilla that has all the traditional ingredients, but we add about one cup of quinoa spread around the quesadilla,” McNulty says.

The recipes were sent out to unit managers with this note: “Whole grains are a wonderful answer to the nutritional puzzle posed by a vegetarian or vegan diet. They have amazing nutritional profiles, and they also provide a hearty base for entrées, soups, salads, parfaits and desserts.”

“We offered [operators] recipes,” McNulty adds, “but we also told them to treat the grains like a blank canvas and use them as they would any regular rice or pasta.”

He notes that customer feedback thus far has been positive, but he cautioned that he has “a lot more work to do” to make the program stronger and to prepare it for the K-12 market.

> 15,655

The number of orders of guacamole and chips that were ordered in the first year of operation of Fontera Fresco on the campus of Northwestern University, in Evanston, Ill. The Rick Bayless concept is the only such location on a college campus. Students can customize their guac with toppings including toasted pepitas, spicy roasted peppers, bacon and sun-dried tomatoes. The location also offers tacos, tortas, quesadillas and tamales. Like other Bayless dining locations, Northwestern’s concept purchases much of its produce, cheese and proteins from sources located within 100 miles of campus. 

> All-beef burgers booted in Fairfax Schools

Last year Fairfax County Public Schools, in Virginia, eliminated its 27-ingredient hamburger in favor of an all-beef product. The problem: Students didn’t like the 100% beef burger. Penny McConnell, the district’s food and nutritional service director, said students didn’t like the look or taste of the all-natural burger, according to The Washington Post. Now a 26-ingredient burger has replaced the all-beef version. “Students are our customers and we listen to them and implement their requests if possible,” McConnell said. 

> 3.1 million

The reduction during a seven-week trial period in the amount of M&Ms consumed by Google’s New York office after the candy was put in opaque containers. Healthier snacks like dried fruits and nuts were displayed in glass jars. The tech company was hoping to effect healthier snacking patters for its 2,000 employees in the Big Apple.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The University of New Mexico’s proposed on-campus taproom has officially been approved by the school’s Board of Regents.

Construction on the $650,000 student union taproom will begin this summer and is expected to finish in August when students return to campus. The school’s food vendor, Chartwells, and UNM’s Dining & Food Services department will split the cost of the taproom evenly.

Designed by students in the school’s architecture department, the space will feature a rotating selection of beer and wine, and will also welcome guest brewers. Chartwells will be...

Ideas and Innovation
cafeteria

Three years ago, Colonial School District in New Castle, Del., started a pilot supper program at its high school. The goal: To make sure the district’s students, 57% of whom are on free or reduced-priced meals, would not be hungry when school is done for the day.

Since its inception, the program has expanded to 12 schools and now provides afterschool meals to children participating in YMCA activities. And it's just one of many such programs popping up in districts throughout the country, as operators add supper to the list of daily meals they provide for students.

Building...
Ideas and Innovation
hydroponics

We put our hydroponic gardens in a spot where students can watch them grow, but at the same time it’s safe from being tampered with. At one of our elementary schools, the gardens are in the kitchen, but there’s a window where students can look in as they walk down the hallway. Some even stop to count how many cucumbers they see.

Ideas and Innovation
food snap

We started a 50-member vegan team in response to students expressing the need for more vegan options. Between our monthly meetings, students are asked to take photos of foods they eat in and out of the dining halls to give us a true picture of the kinds of things they like and the kinds of foods that cause disappointment. This exercise has sparked a lot of conversation and given us more insight into what we could do better.

FSD Resources