District’s foodservice employees get hands-on lesson from the University of South Carolina

Lexington-Richland School District staff visited the university’s school of hotel, restaurant and tourism management for culinary training in healthy meal preparation.

COLUMBIA, S.C.—Students in Lexington-Richland School District Five will arrive at school with brand-new backpacks, pens and markers. The women who work in the district’s school cafeterias picked up some new skills and fresh recipes of their own Tuesday to give kids a healthy start.

Using fresh, local ingredients in school cafeterias has been a highly emphasized goal in Lexington-Richland Five since the district received a large USDA grant last year. Director of Student Nutrition Todd Bedenbaugh used resources from the grant to arrange a field trip to the University of South Carolina where food service employees from elementary, middle and high schools learned from instructors at the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management.

“We want to make sure they are using proper techniques for when they get fresh fruits and vegetables,” he said.

Students have planted gardens at each campus and Bedenbaugh has been able to order more locally sourced ingredients for cafeteria kitchens with funds from the Farm to Five grant. Sandy Strick, associate professor and director of graduate studies for the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, said it is vital the cooks know how to prepare the produce they receive.

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
frozen raspberries

“As a chef, I pretty much have grown up through the business thinking that fresh was always better—produce, fish and meats, especially,” says Ryan Conklin, executive chef for UNC Rex Healthcare’s culinary and nutrition services. “But the more ‘re-educated’ I get, the more I’m learning that some frozen options may be more appropriate for me to be using on my menus.”

Right now, the perception of frozen foods doesn’t match the reality, especially for high-volume foodservice operators, says Conklin. Often, chefs and operators picture not-great product that’s been sitting in a block of...

Sponsored Content
Roasted Beet Salad Pickled Blueberries
From Blueberry Council.

What’s trending in the culinary world? The basics! According to the NRA, diners today are craving authenticity, simplicity and freshness on menus. But basic ingredients don’t have to lead to boring menu options.

It’s easy to fall into the latest craze to capture consumer attention and drive sales. But we’ve learned it’s not always about novelty. Instilling a feeling of nostalgia and familiarity by using well-known and well-loved ingredients in new, experimental dishes can lead to an increase in adventurous dining decisions, while staying in your customers’...

Managing Your Business
umass amherst food

Restaurateurs in Amherst, Mass., aren’t happy with UMass Dining .

Registered dietitian Dianne Sutherland told local NBC affiliate WWLP News in May that the high quality of food served on campus means students aren’t visiting neighborhood eateries as frequently as those businesses might like.

“Even our vendors who we work with, they get complaints from the restaurants that students are staying on campus,” she said. “They are already paying for the food; why should they [go] off campus to eat?” More than 19,000 Amherst students are on a meal plan—6,000 of whom live off campus...

Ideas and Innovation
lettuce eat dining

Forced to battle crumbling infrastructure and a constant churn of trends, sometimes the best way to save a foodservice operation is to change it entirely. As Steve Mangan, director of dining at the University of Michigan, puts it, “At some point when your building starts to fail, the cost of maintenance stands out.” But for operators with limited budgets, the challenge is discerning the right time to do so—and how far to take it.

At Jefferson High School, change came because little worked anymore. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, school’s cafeteria hadn’t been updated since 1957; students...

FSD Resources