Chicago schools urged to fire foodservice head following scandal

Foodservice director in hot water over acceptance of gifts.

March 19—The head of the Chicago Public Schools today recommended the schools' chief of the food service be fired after she and two members of her staff were accused of taking more than $86,000 in gifts from schools contractors.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel also released a statement today urging the Chicago Board of Education to follow schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard's recommendation that Louise Esaian be fired from her $147,400 job. The Tribune reported this week on the schools' inspector general's report detailing gifts including at least $20,000 in skybox tickets, meals and other concessions at Green Bay Packers home games for Esaian and her family.

Many of the gifts allegedly came directly from Bob Bloomer, a regional vice president for Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality who oversees the company's contract with CPS.

The board is scheduled to meet March 28 and could take up the matter then.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
unsung heroes graphic

Febin Bellamy, a senior at Georgetown University, is the founder of Unsung Heroes, a nonprofit that features service workers on college campuses in man-on-the-street-style Facebook interviews. This year, Bellamy is working with a dozen schools to launch their own chapters of the storytelling platform. Here’s what he’s learned about staff shoutouts.

Q: Why did you decide to start Unsung Heroes?

A: One day I started a conversation with a custodial worker in the business school that I would see all the time. I learned that we had a lot of similarities; for instance, we both wanted to...

Ideas and Innovation
bolognese sauce

We’re trying to bring scratch cooking to all the elementary schools, but we’re taking it dish by dish. Right now, we satellite a lot of the dishes out. This month we made a Bolognese from scratch, and went to each of the schools to talk to them about the process and see if they could implement it. It helps us find out the hurdles and what they are going to need to make it work.

Ideas and Innovation
rolling silverware

Ensuring that employees regularly complete the busywork missing from their daily checklist can be a challenge, but these tasks often help an operation run efficiently with fewer unexpected costs. At Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., Regional Executive Chef Dustin Cochran has found a solution to ensure his walk-in coolers always have a clean vent. Cochran starts with a thorough cleaning of the vent, then slips a hairnet over it to catch the dust. Instead of getting employees to deep clean the vents, they need only replace the hairnet.

Ideas and Innovation
chicken and waffles

Our elementary menu is currently riding the breakfast-anytime advertising trend by offering Breakfast for Lunch every Tuesday. It ranks as our highest participation, and it was a great way for us to introduce chicken and waffles inspired by an IHOP dish.

FSD Resources