2013 Goldies: Flik Independent School Dining, Rye Brook, N.Y.

Program includes decorations and music to accompany the cuisine.

By 
Lindsey Ramsey, Contributing Editor

Authentic dishes from each region expose the students
to different flavors and cultures.

Schools are places of learning, and the cafeteria is no exception. With Flik Independent School Dining’s Traveling Flavors program, students fill their bellies—and brains—with international food and learning.

“We wanted to educate the kids outside the classroom without them knowing that they were being educated,” says Ray Mulligan, president of Flik Independent School Dining, about the program, which features food, decorations and educational material.

Of Flik’s 139 school accounts, about 100 participate in the Traveling Flavors program. Before really taking off, Mulligan says the program consisted of a van with the necessary supplies making stops at schools on Traveling Flavors day. Now, the program has become so expansive, regional chefs are in charge of implementing the program. The regional chefs get instructions from headquarters about how the Traveling Flavors station should be decorated and what the menu and ingredients will be. Using those instructions, the regional chefs go to each school in their region and, in conjunction with the staff at each school, execute the event.

Right out of the gate, the company knew it had a winner with the program, so there weren’t many challenges besides logistics. The biggest challenge had been consistency with each event, but now that one regional chef controls the events in his/her region, Mulligan says the program doesn’t get diluted like it used to when it was just a team in a van setting things up.

“When we first started [the program] we spent a lot of time and research on learning about authentic international foods. We’ve now spread out from just offering international foods. We’ve done events based on celebrity chefs around the United States, events based on different U.S. cities and one on street foods.”

The most popular Traveling Flavors program has been the one centered on celebrity chefs. For example, the program picked Bobby Flay for the event one semester and created a station around his cooking style and persona.

“It was so popular the schools started using [celebrity chef recipes] outside of the program as a monotony breaker,” Mulligan says. “They’ll serve celebrity chef recipes just any day of the year to drum up some excitement. There is a great deal of research done behind the scenes for all of the events.”
Mulligan says the program sets the gold standard by focusing on cutting-edge topics such as street foods and authentic ethnic flavors.

“Plus, the program includes not only authentic food, but it also features background music that matches the theme, educational pieces about the menu options, a raffle, decorations and posters,” Mulligan says. “We want to educate [students] and nurture them. I think Traveling Flavors does that to a very high degree by concentrating on what the hot trends of the day are.” 

Program Highlights

Flik Independent School Dining’s Traveling Flavors program represents the gold standard in non-commercial foodservice because:

• It brings international and regional flavors to more than 100 of Flik’s accounts twice a year

• On Traveling Flavors day, Flik’s regional chefs prepare a special menu of authentic foods. The menu is based either on food from one country or around a theme, such as street foods or recipes from a celebrity chef

• To further educate students, the Traveling Flavors station features decorations, games and music that complement the theme  

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Six Philadelphia hospitals were honored by the city’s department of public health for healthy food initiatives introduced as part of the local Good Food, Healthy Hospitals program, bizjournals.com reports .

The hospitals each debuted healthy measures to their dining services, such as lowering the cost of water bottles and seltzers, and offering dishes that incorporate local produce. One hospital was also honored for operating its own organic farm.

The facilities that were honored were:

Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s Eastern...
Sponsored Content
chili flakes and peppers spicy hot

From Catallia.

When planning your menus, take note: college and university students think spicy is hot.

Fifty-seven percent of consumers age 18-34 find spicy flavors, “extremely appealing,” according to Technomic. And almost 50% of college students surveyed said they would like their schools to offer more ethnic foods and beverages, states a recent Technomic College & University Consumer Trend Report. Translation: they like their food kicked up a notch!

More Options than Ever

“Students of today are all about flavor,” says Steve Mangan, director of dining for...

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo is partnering with celebrity chef Robert Irvine in an attempt to provide military communities with healthier meals.

The 10-year partnership will allow Sodexo to access chef Irvine’s knowledge of nutrition and fitness in its aim to benefit the quality of life for military members, the vendor said in a news release.

Sodexo hopes that Irvine’s popularity as the host of Food Network’s "Restaurant: Impossible" will draw attention to its commitment to nutrition, health and well being. Irvine also has a military history himself—before embarking on his culinary career, he...

Industry News & Opinion

The cafeteria at the Smithsonian's new National Museum for African American History and Culture is intended to be an extension of the museum, showcasing stations that offer cuisines from different geographic locations such as the Creole coast and agricultural South, Time reports .

The eatery, Sweet Home Cafe, was set up to highlight the wide range of African-American cuisine, Executive Chef Jerome Grant told Time. When it officially opens later this month, it will serve dishes such as shrimp and grits, pan-roasted oysters and a fried catfish po’boy.

Celebrity chef Carla...

FSD Resources