Herbs and spices in fresh lunch options win over Pa. students

Wilson School District adds fresh tomato sauces, Italian spices and fresh produce to lunch menus.

Oct. 21—For someone who doesn't like zucchini, Alyssa Mikes sure was raving about it in her school cafeteria.
"I like it because I like the tomato sauce," the Wilson High School senior said after taste-testing a hot dish of sliced zucchini in a sauté of tomatoes, garlic and Italian spices.

Getting kids and teens to eat veggies they wouldn't normally eat is possible, but there's a right way and a wrong way to go about it, according to chef Bill Scepansky, who helped Wilson cooks prepare the zucchini recipe and a cold tomato salad last month.

"You can't just put eggplant on a plate and say, 'Today, we're having eggplant,' " he said.

But by adding some skillfully cooked eggplant into a ratatouille of zucchini, garlic, tomatoes and other fresh vegetables, Scepansky said, the eggplant has a chance to sing.

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Ideas and Innovation
salad

We’re currently piloting a Salad Bar Happy Hour 
in Cafe 16. Due to Health Department regulations, any self-serve salad bar items must be disposed of after service. The salad bar goes “on sale” for 25 cents an ounce post-lunchtime to help reduce waste as well as offer value to customers.

Menu Development
sauces

Adding an entirely new cuisine to the menu can feel daunting. But what if you could dabble in international flavors simply by introducing a few new condiments? For inspiration, FSD talked to operators who are offering a range of condiments plucked from global regional cuisines.

“Most ethnic cuisines have some sort of sauce or condiment relishes that go with their dishes,” says Roy Sullivan, executive chef with Nutrition & Food Services at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. Condiments offered to diners at UCSF Medical include chimichurri (Argentina), curry (India), tzatziki (...

Ideas and Innovation
turnip juice brine

Give leftover brine new life by adding it to vegetables. In an interview with Food52, Stuart Brioza, chef and owner of State Bird Provisions in San Francisco, says that he adds a splash of leftover brine while sauteeing mushrooms to increase their flavor profile. “We like to ferment turnips at the restaurant, and it’s a great way to use that brine—though dill pickle brine would work just as well,” he says.

Menu Development
side dishes

Operators looking to increase sales of side dishes may want to focus on freshness and value. Here’s what attributes consumers say are important when picking sides.

Fresh - 73% Offered at a fair price - 72% Satisfies a craving - 64% Premium ingredients - 56% Natural ingredients - 49% Signature side - 47% Something familiar - 46% Housemade/made from scratch - 44% Something new/unique - 42% Large portion size - 42% Healthfulness - 40% Family-size - 40%

Source: Technomic’s 2017 Starters, Small Plates and Sides Consumer Trend Report , powered by Ignite

FSD Resources