Cooper’s school meal challenge

Boulder Valley Board of Education is raising money to improve breakfast and lunch menus in Boulder schools.

On Tuesday, there was an interesting article in the Boulder (Colo.) Daily Camera, which we highlighted in our In The News section of the Web site. The newspaper reported that the Boulder Valley Board of Education has raised $400,000, toward a goal of $700,000, to improve breakfast and lunch menus in Boulder schools.

About three-quarters of the money raised thus far will go to pay Lunch Lessons, the menu consulting firm founded and headed by Ann Cooper, to remain in the district for at least one more year as it tries to make the district “a leader in student nutrition,” according to the article.

Last year, Boulder hired Lunch Lessons to show the district how to make school meals healthier. The board of education also appointed Cooper as interim director of foodservice, to lead the charge into what one board member called “the new world of school food.” The district’s goal is to have a foodservice program where everything is made from scratch, using all natural foods and nothing that has been processed. Cooper gained national attention from her work as foodservice director for the Berkeley, Calif., School District, and has parlayed that success into her new company and a gig with the Boulder district.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Cooper also has become a partner with Whole Foods Market to try to widen her sphere of influence. She and Walter Robb, co-president of Whole Foods, plan to go to Congress to argue for sweeping improvements to the federal Child Nutrition Act.

They even have created a Web site, thelunchbox.org, where people will be able to get healthful recipes, information about food safety, and suggestions on how to be a community activist, among other things.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
nuts

We decided through focus group feedback that our freshmen struggled with the allergy-friendly options or options for students with diabetes on campus. In response, we decided to have a dinner the first few weeks of classes to let some of these students know what was available and let them network with their peers and others with allergies or diabetes. NC State Dining chefs prepared menu items based on foods from cultures around the world. ... From delicious sliced sweet potatoes to savory Ikarian-style roasted chicken, students were able to sample global dishes free of allergens.

Ideas and Innovation
coffee cups

We started a monthly Coffee Hour with just the department director. The goal is to gather 
staff feedback about their jobs and answer individual questions. After the first event, 
several staff members emailed stating they just wanted to meet with the director without 
their supervisors. Now, the meetings offer an opportunity for more of a one-on-one conversation without the presence of the supervisor they 
deal with day in and day out.

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 (...

FSD Resources