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
chicken herbs

We make and broadcast short YouTube videos on TV monitors to educate our customers about cooking techniques, like how to cut up a chicken or what herbs and spices go well together. The monitors also are used to display daily menus, nutritional and allergen information, upcoming foodservice events and local weather forecasts.

Ideas and Innovation
leftovers containers

We use our Menu Forward idea to empower staff to develop menu items and keep leftovers in check. Product left at the end of service may be claimed by any station to become part of a new item within six weeks. I’m happy to see my star team fighting for their ideas and products; the benefit to food cost is spot-on, and my freezer has no mystery items lurking in the corner.

Ideas and Innovation
food allergy

When potential students come to campus, we match them with a student from our allergy support group for a tour of our dining facilities. The ambassador helps the potential student to understand how they navigated campus with their food allergy. This showcases what we do for allergies on campus, and is a highly successful way to make the students feel good about dining.

Menu Development
muse school produce

Kayla Webb, executive chef at Muse School, has transitioned the private K-12 day school in Calabasas, Calif., to an entirely vegan menu over a three-year period. Webb talks about her menuing, and how the school’s kitchen earned the title of “greenest restaurant in the world” from the Green Restaurant Association.

Q: How did you help parents get used to the idea of an all plant-based diet?

A: The first year, we didn’t announce it. We were just serving one plant-based meal a week, so it wasn’t that drastic. We do monthly Muse Talks where we invite different speakers to our school to...

FSD Resources