The Best...

Guest chef event we’ve done
The most memorable were with the chef from Piccola Italia Ristorante and the chef from Shorty’s Mexican Roadhouse. The chefs worked closely with our chef so that we could duplicate and add their recipes to our program.  A lot of the other chefs were more interested in getting free advertising for their restaurants and not did divulge their recipes.
—Joe Stanislaw, director of food and nutrition, Elliot Hospital, Manchester, N.H.

Social media program I’ve seen
The use of Twitter for food trucks. We are working on a mobile food cart, which would sell food to staff and visitors on patient care units. I’m looking to possibly use Twitter to do the same thing within the hospital to let people know about the cart.
—Dan Henroid, director of nutrition and food services, UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco

Place I’ve gone for menu inspiration
Starbucks Coffee stores. We serve their coffee on our campus and coming from the Northwest, it almost feels like family since Starbucks is in our own backyard. I also feel they get it in terms of how coffee is supposed to happen. We often borrow their ideas and mirror our service at our espresso kiosks after their stores.
—Mark Eggleston, director of hospitality services, Overlake Hospital Medical Center, Bellevue, Wash.

Use of “stealth health:” We purchase tons of local produce every year and make breakfast breads. Students might see the small colored specks but likely don’t know they are eating shredded zucchini and carrots.
—Doug Davis, director of food service, Burlington Schools, Burlington, Vt.

Motivational book I’ve ever read
“Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court” by coach John Wooden and Steve Jamison. You don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate the motivational leadership style of coach Wooden. I found his simple and direct observations inspiring. One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “Leaders are interested in finding the best way, rather than having it their own way.”
—Pat Farris, foodservice director, St. Tammany Parish School District, Covington, La.

Advice I ever received from a chef
When he was the executive chef here, Denis Ellis told me, “You train seals and teach people,” meaning people need to understand the reasons why we ask for a certain procedure to be followed. They need to understand the root of things so that they can repeat the practice in any appropriate situation.
—David Prentkowski, director of foodservice, University of Notre Dame, notre dame, ind.

Food truck concept I’ve experienced
I like The Grilled Cheese Truck in Los Angeles. They took a comfort food like grilled cheese and then classed it up with some really interesting combinations.
—Rick Johnson, assistant vice president of housing and dining, Duke University, Durham, N.C.

Way to relieve stress while on the job
Eat, or should I say “taste test.”
—Rich Burlingame, director of nutrition services, Great River Medical Center, Burlington, Iowa

Customer interaction event we’ve done
I do cooking and carving demonstrations to keep residents entertained at special events. Almost all community events at Rice Estates requires food and drink of some sort. This gives me a chance to cook or entertain right in front of my customer base. I have made bananas Foster, cherries jubilee, crêpes suzette, and shrimp and grits for them. Their favorite is the build-your-own omelet. I also like to do carving demos. At this past year’s Autumn Festival, I carved a jack-o’-lantern topiary for them, which stayed on display for a few days in the lobby.
—Rich Schmitt, director of food services, Rice Home Estates, Columbia, S.C.

More From FoodService Director

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.

Ideas and Innovation
hybrid worker

Some of our employees can work four 10-hour days. It’s really helped with balance. We’ve also created a lot of hybrid positions, such as a personal services assistant and foodservice worker role. It allows workers to pick up more shifts and cover both positions.

Ideas and Innovation
cheeseburger

We set up an interactive collaboration with our dietetics department where students worked with our culinary team to test how recipes are imagined and produced. One of the recipes they came up with was a barbecue tempeh sandwich, which they believed was a great option for vegan students across campus. We added the sandwich to our On the Go program and then expanded it to our vegan station on campus due to its success.

Ideas and Innovation
salad bowl

We have reorganized our salad bars to not only include the traditional DIY salad ingredients, but also several daily entree salads. Our students requested 32-ounce heavy glass salad bowls that have been wildly popular. The big bowls allow students to load up on their favorite salads and customize with additional ingredients from around the servery. We have seen a significant surge in usage that cuts across all groups, including athletes.

FSD Resources