Best friends

Broome-Tioga's Mark Bordeau forged a lifelong friendship after his "best" mistake.

Next month’s issue of FoodService Director will feature “The Best,” a reprise of our popular cover story from February 2011. In it we will share readers’ comments on “the best” on a variety of topics.

One of the answers we’ve received came from Mark Bordeau, senior director of foodservice for the Broome-Tioga County BOCES school program in Binghamton, N.Y. I thought I would share it with you to give readers a taste of what’s to come in the issue, but also because it points up the value of networking in the foodservice industry.

Mark shared with us the best “mistake” he’s ever made, which was to attend the annual conference of the New York School Nutrition Association meeting in 1991. He calls it a mistake because that’s what he thought it was at the time.

“Life was just too busy to take two days and go to Syracuse for the conference,” he recalled thinking. Despite his misgiving, however, he did go—and the rest is important history for several school districts in the Southern Tier of New York state.

“At that conference I met my three best friends, Arlin, Betsy and Ray,” he told me. “I lived over two hours away from them, but we stayed connected by phone almost every day. I learned so much from them about school foodservice and life.

“In 1999 I was offered a job in Binghamton. The four of us went from being two hours away to being within 15 minutes of each other. We have undergone a lot of growth together, both professionally and personally. We were so closed we decided to join together and work as one team”

That team eventually became the union of the food program for several adjacent districts and the creation of a brand, called “Rock On Café.”(See "Team Player.")

“The Rock On Café team that we created has made huge strides in improving the wellness of kids in our community,” he shared. “That would not have happened without four people meeting at a conference back in 1991.”

As the upcoming holidays bring us closer to our families, it’s nice to realize that made of our readers have professional “families,” groups that have been formed in fashions similar to Mark’s group, where ideas are shared and concepts conceived that benefit customers in ways that are often hard to imagine when an idea takes shape.

Mark’s tale is also further evidence that networking in this industry does net results, even though what you sow today may not bear from for a decade or more, as has been the case in the Binghamton area. For more stories like this, be sure to read “The Best,” in the January issue of FSD.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The Virginia Department of Health said it has traced a “cluster” of hepatitis A cases to frozen Egyptian strawberries used by Virginia units of a smoothie chain.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe voluntarily trashed the strawberries and switched to supplies from a different source immediately after being notified of the connection, the health department said in a statement issued Friday.

The department noted that it had traced earlier outbreaks of hepatitis A to strawberries imported from Egypt. But it warned that supplies may still be in the freezers of other foodservice operations...

Managing Your Business
business man smash computer

Foodservice directors spend a lot of time taking care of other people, whether it’s K-12 students who aren’t always eating enough at home, malnourished patients back for return visits or employees squabbling among themselves. That kind of pressure can weigh heavily—and come home from work. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America finds that 83% of men and 72% of women say stress at work carries over into their personal lives, and 50% call staff management their main culprit for workplace stress.

“Stress is very difficult in our world, and work-life balance is very much a...

Industry News & Opinion

Students at an Arkansas high school may have to take creative measures to get a meal, thanks to a school policy that prevents parents from dropping off lunches left at home.

The Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock, Ark., last week posted a picture on Facebook of a sign that reads, “Stop. If you are dropping off your son’s forgotten lunch, books, homework, equipment, etc., please turn around and exit the building. Your son will learn to problem-solve in your absence.”

While social media opinions on the school’s rule were mixed, some commenters expressed concern that...

Industry News & Opinion

Novato Unified School District in Novato, Calif., has created a new vegetarian grab-and-go item as part of the district’s Meatless Monday initiative, marinij.com reports .

The Fiesta Rice and Bean Shaker, which is served in disposable cups, contains rice, corn, black beans, taco seasoning, corn tortilla chips and romaine lettuce topped with an optional salsa and ranch dressing. It’s also customizable, as students are able to select which ingredients they’d like to include.

The vegetarian shaker is made using produce from a nearby organic garden. Sofie Garcia, an employee in...

FSD Resources