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

Ideas and Innovation
employees generation multicultural

We are no longer short staffed, ever. On a given day, missing two team members from a team of 50 would leave us 96% staffed. The actual choice of wording places a positive emphasis on those that did come to serve our guests and patients. We no longer use the phrase “short staffed”; this is a game-changer when we are challenging ourselves as culture facilitators or leaders.

Ideas and Innovation
food symbols allergens

To make safe food as accessible as possible for our guests with allergies, we are creating an allergen-friendly kitchen this summer. Students and community members will be able to use our mobile app to place orders for allergen-friendly food and pick them up at the central kitchen. The kitchen will also produce grab-and-go options that will be distributed across campus.

Ideas and Innovation
construction plans drawing tools calculator

When revamping an old cafeteria or building a new retail spot, the design process can feel like fitting together the pieces of a puzzle: What needs to fit in the space, and what’s the most efficient flow for staffers, cooks, diners and more?

Cathy Estes, administrative director of nutrition services at four northern Indiana hospitals that are part of the Franciscan Health network, faced the creation of a new in-house dining program at Franciscan’s Munster hospital. Amid all the big plans, design was one of the largest undertakings.

“I was looking at 5,000 square feet on a...

Ideas and Innovation
amazon prime delivery

About 90% of our students receive financial assistance and participate in our free and reduced-price meal program. But a number of students in our district study remotely due to circumstances such as chronic illness. In January, we hired a driver to deliver meals to students who aren’t able to step into our cafeteria each day.

FSD Resources