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.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
vote buttons pins

On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chalkboard

We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

Ideas and Innovation
raised garden beds

We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chartwells teaching kids

Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

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