Toronto schools enlist chef Susur Lee to lure back students

Celebrity chef working on making cafeterias a cool place to be.

Sept. 4—Star chef Susur Lee has an unusual new project in the works — he’s the gastronomy guru who will try to help Toronto’s unloved school cafeterias get their groove back.

This time, the demanding restaurateur will take his culinary cues largely from the teen diners being wooed in this new bid to make Toronto District School Board lunchrooms the hot spot for cool eats.

The long-range goal is to turn increasingly empty lunchrooms into bustling hubs where student-driven menus are cooked largely by student chefs who earn credits by feeding their friends food that’s both healthy and hip.

It’s a tall order. A year after new Ontario healthy school food rules began driving students off school property for lunch, the TDSB closed 32 cafeterias this summer because they were losing money. Suddenly a long-simmering union interest in sprucing up cafeterias caught fire and sparked a coalition keen to fight back, using students — and Susur — as their guide.

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
WinCup foam food containers

From WinCup.

Cost control.

Two little words that are essential to every foodservice director’s day-to-day activities.

Keeping costs in check is paramount in running a functioning food operation, of course. But the ripples of cost control can extend beyond your bottom line. And savvy directors must balance customer satisfaction on the P&L sheet.

Fiscal Responsibility

The foundation of cost control is accepting fiscal responsibility, which requires a solid understanding of foodservice accounting. Prime cost, the combined cost of food and labor, is an...

Industry News & Opinion

Orange County Community College in upstate New York is replacing its dining staff with vending machines , The Times Herald-Record reports.

The staff members, who will be let go in June, include nine full-time and three part-time workers. Students say they will miss the employees and the access to fresh food.

The Orange County Community College Association, which oversees the school’s cafeterias, says the layoffs were partly due to a $150,000 deficit accumulated by foodservice operations last year.

Read the full story via The Times Herald-Record .

Industry News & Opinion

Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, is eliminating paper cups in its Commons dining hall and has given each student a reusable stainless steel mug as a replacement, bates.edu reports.

The mugs were distributed via a promotion earlier this week where students could fill their new mugs with a free smoothie. Stickers and other trinkets were set out for students to use to “bling” their mugs.

Dining services turned to students to determine which type of mug would be offered. The college also installed a mug-washing sink in the dining Commons earlier this year.

Read the...

Industry News & Opinion

Compass has partnered with Jose Andres ’ ThinkFoodGroup, allowing the chef and foodservice vendor to collaborate at such venues as stadiums and college campuses.

“With this partnership, we have the opportunity to tell stories and connect with people through food on an entirely new level,” Andres said in a release.

The three-year team-up comes shortly after Andres opened a ThinkFoodLab pop-up in Washington, D.C., which will serve as a recipe R&D space for his restaurant group.

ThinkFoodGroup was this year named a Power 20 multiconcept operator by Restaurant...

FSD Resources