Chicago Schools probes school-lunch deal

Inspector general asked to investigate possible bidding process violations.

June 24—For the second time in two years, Chicago Public Schools' $100 million-a-year food-services operation is being probed for alleged improprieties.

School officials are confirming that they've asked CPS Inspector General James Sullivan to review a recent preliminary decision to dump current food vendor Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality and Preferred Meal Systems in favor of a division of Aramark Corp.

Specifically being examined is the role played, if any, by CPS' new director of nutritional support services, Leslie Fowler. Until last July, Ms. Fowler worked for Aramark as a resident district manager in Rochester, N.Y. Then she was hired here to succeed Louise Esaian, who resigned amid reports that she had accepted gifts worth tens of thousands of dollars from officials at Chartwells.

 CPS insiders say Ms. Fowler was supposed to have walled herself off from participating in the bidding process, to which Aramark, Chartwells, Sodexo Group and Preferred Meal Systems responded. The bidding process was supposed to have been run by CPS' procurement unit, not by Ms. Fowler's school-lunch division, with Ms. Fowler having no vote. But Chartwells is complaining that she very much was involved, asking pointed questions of bidders, notifying them of the preliminary decision to go with Aramark and serving as boss to half of the members of the CPS bid-review committee.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Amherst-Pelham Regional School District in Amherst, Mass., is updating its lunch debt policy to no longer single out students, MassLive reports.

Under the new policy, students with lunch debt will be given the same meals as their peers, regardless of how much they owe. School officials will also be communicating directly with parents of students who have accumulated debt instead of through the students themselves.

The updated policy comes just before U.S. school districts will be required to publicly list their lunch debt policies, per new USDA requirements starting July 1...

Menu Development
eureka

Since California’s state motto is “Eureka!” it seems fitting that a recent conversation with the director of hospitality at San Diego’s Palomar Health led to the biggest aha moment I’ve had in a long time.

I called Jim Metzger in late April with the purpose of discussing Palomar’s recent commitment to the goal of making 60% of its total menu plant-based by this summer. It seemed a lofty number, and I was curious how the public health system planned to get there.

But my personal eureka didn’t come while we were talking about how Palomar had cleaned up the impulse-buy zones...

Industry News & Opinion

Labeling foods with indulgent buzzwords such as “sweet sizzlin’” and “crispy” can lead consumers to make healthier food choices , according to a recent study out of Stanford University .

In the fall 2016 study, researchers labeled vegetables in one of the school’s dining halls using terms from four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.

The green beans, for example, were listed as “green beans” for basic, “light ‘n’ low-carb green beans and shallots” for healthy restrictive, “healthy energy boosting green beans and shallots” for healthy...

Ideas and Innovation
sparkling water

Our carbonated soft drink sales at Earls.67 reflect a national trend; we’re continually down on carbonated soft drink sales by 8% to 9% on an annual basis,” says Cameron Bogue, beverage director at the contemporary-casual chain Earls Kitchen + Bar.

The issue with spa water

Many operators are intrigued with the offering, but they are learning that infused water can’t be offered at a cost to guests unless there is added value beyond cut-up fruit. Bogue says, “I was adamant that I didn’t want to charge for spa water.”

Agua fresca alternatives

At the original location of

...

FSD Resources