Second Annual "The Best..."

Misc.

Mistake I ever made
I was driving down the road talking with my produce distributor and asking him why he couldn’t deliver Washington state apples when I lived in New Hampshire. I dropped the phone and had to pull over. I happened to pull over at an apple orchard. That started my whole farm-to-school experience.
—Tony Geraci, executive director of child nutrition, Memphis City Public Schools, Memphis, Tenn.

Kitchen-related disaster that I can laugh at now
My first day at my first job as an executive chef in a steak restaurant, the kitchen was so hot all the light ballasts blew. We had no lights so I was cooking with a flashlight in my mouth. People were waiting for two hours for their meals. Thank God most of the customers were friends. My family had a table of 12 and had to listen to all the comments. I wasn’t laughing then but looking back I get hysterical.
—Brad Lange, director of dining services, Park Regency, Chandler, Ariz.

The best way I’ve found to relieve stress on the job
With the opening of our health and wellness complex, I now have the ability to go hit a racquetball around whenever things get a little tense.
—Damian Monticello, corporate foodservice liaison, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Jacksonville, Fla.

Food-related movie I’ve seen
“Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” I have a passion for chocolate, and we all have that kid in us.
—Betty Perez, R.D., senior director of food and nutrition services at NYU Langone Medical Center, New York

Best, biryani Food memory I have
I toured India for six weeks to learn the style of cooking. Every day for two weeks I went to a different place. I went to a wedding and learned how to cook biryani, which is a typical food for a wedding feast. The cooking is so different.
—Dee Phillips, director of dining services, Davidson College, Davidson, N.C.

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Ideas and Innovation
moving boxes

Because we have 39 locations throughout the state, employees are offered a transfer if they’re planning a move. They’re rehired by the company, but there’s no additional training needed and employees are ready to go on Day 1.

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staff pack

To keep staff motivated, we locked them in a room together. As part of a midsemester training session, we formed work groups and sent them to a local Escape Room to see which team could play the game together most effectively and escape first. Not only was this training a great team-building experience, but it supported a local new business and gave our staff a memorable experience.

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star employee

Senior leadership meets twice a year to do organizational talent planning for every position from the top down. We talk about who are the potential high-performers, and go through how they can grow. People are your differentiator—you need to take care of your assets, and your assets are your human resources.

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