Third 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
lettuce dirt

Savor at McCormick Place developed the Green Thumb brand for menu items and products featuring its rooftop bounty; the latest is a pale ale made with the first crop of hops grown on the roof. Promoting that branding and the convention center’s green certification has brought in business from groups with a sustainability focus.

Ideas and Innovation
business pamphlet fair show

As we struggle to recruit and retain millennials, we had our current millennial employees invite friends who don’t work for our organization to a Q&A session where we find out why our organization is or isn’t appealing to them, and what they are looking for in an employer. I recommend doing this off-site in a casual environment so you can get honest and open feedback that could be useful for better marketing.

Menu Development
pho bowl

Achieving authenticity can be tricky. Late last year, Oberlin College landed in the news when students protested the way dining services at the Ohio school was botching ethnic food, serving up inauthentic versions of Asian and Middle Eastern dishes. It’s a challenge other operators are confronting, too, often tapping staff and patrons for inspiration.

At 260-bed Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Scottish Rite, Executive Chef Bradley Czajka, himself of Polish-Ukrainian descent, started Global Stations as a way to recognize the diversity of cultures at the hospital. “We have such an...

Menu Development
sweet pea ravioli

On any given night at the Wake Robin senior living facility in Shelburne, Vt., residents may find spring sweet pea and mascarpone ravioli with white wine cream sauce or acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and cranberries on the menu. These dishes, along with a new sweet-potato burger topped with cilantro aioli, aren’t just delicious, says Director of Dining Services Kathy King. They’re also completely vegetarian.

The popularity of Meatless Mondays and the growing number of people who call themselves “flexitarians” have impacted menu development in every noncommercial sector. Although...

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