Confessions of Cheryl Shimmin

Kettering Medical System's Cheryl Shimmin wants to hike the Grand Canyon.
Cheryl Shimmin, network director of nutrition services for Kettering Medical System in Ohio, wants to hike the Grand Canyon, share a meal with Albert Einstein and wishes she could stop rethinking old problems.

Q. What is the best part of your job?

The people and the ability to be creative.

Q. What is the worst part of your job?

The long hours.

Q. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Raising two successful, loving children.

Q. What is the most unusual foodservice/catering request you have ever received?

We’ve catered two weddings. I think for a hospital foodservice department that’s a little different.

Q. If you weren't in foodservice what would you be doing?

A forest ranger at a national park or a dolphin trainer at SeaWorld.

Q. Which talent would you most like to have?

To sing well.

Q. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Not to rethink situations or problems over and over and over.

Q. What is your greatest fear?

I don't know. I'm not really afraid of heights, snakes or water.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?

Brennan Acres. He’s a local tennis player. He has two children faced with genetic disorders. No matter what he’s been given in life he always has such a positive outlook.

Q. What is your favorite meal?

My grandmother’s sauerbraten recipe, sweat and sour red cabbage and mashed potatoes.

Q. What is your "guilty pleasure?"

Wine tastings.

Q. What will people always find in your refrigerator?

A variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Q. What food fad do you wish had never started?

Fast food. It’s caused a lot of havoc with our health.

Q. What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten?

Hot pot soup in China. It’s made with a variety of meats, including snake.

Q. What do you consider to be the most overrated foodservice trend?

Green washing. People are doing environmentally friendly things in name but not in practice.

Q. Read the book or see the movie?

Read the book.

Q. Are you a morning or evening person?

Morning, especially with a good cup of coffee.

Q. What are your words to live by?

Focus on where we have been before we complain about where we need to go. Always look at the silver lining or the positive side.

Q. What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten?

Hot pot soup in China. It’s made with a variety of meats, including snake.

Q. What activity is at the top of your bucket list?

Hiking the Grand Canyon.

Q. If you could eat dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be?

Albert Einstein. He was down to earth yet intelligent.

Q. What would be your dream vacation?

We have a lake house, so going there for a month of hanging out, relaxing and doing water sports.

Q. What do you value most in a friend?

Being accepting of who we are.

Q. Who is your favorite celebrity chef?

Michael Symon from “Iron Chef,” because he’s very down to earth and uses a lot of local products.

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Industry News & Opinion

The University of Maryland will begin offering weekly specials at all of its dining halls this semester, The Diamond Back reports.

The weekday specials will allow Dining Services to offer past menu items that students miss as well as new dishes students have been requesting, according to a spokesperson.

Students can find out which specials are being offered each week via dining hall table tents as well as through Dining Services’ social media. During select weeks, the specials may reflect a particular theme, such as Taste of the South.

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Communication is key, and [managers] are busy too. One tip I picked up from another director was to label my subject line with the header “action,” “information” or “response” followed by a brief description of the email contents. That way they can filter through their inboxes during their busy days to know which emails need their attention immediately and which they can save to read later.

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We like to offer a constantly changing menu. Last year, I started a Pinterest account—not for marketing, but for my team, so that they can look to the recipes for inspiration and try something new. We tried protein cookies based onto a Pinterest recipe, and our residents loved them.

Ideas and Innovation
coal creek student salad bar

When I was visiting Minneapolis Public Schools, I saw that they have these cool signs on top of their salad bars. As soon as we got back, we re-created them. They are big and branded, and have the portion requirements. They say “Taste something new today” on one side, and we support our local farmers on the other. They help the bars look fresh and delish, and attract students’ eyes.

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