Confessions of Deanne Carlisle

Deanne Carlisle loves family reunion meals and doesn't understand the fuss over gourmet coffee
Deanne Carlisle, director of foodservices for the VA Medical Center in Portland, Ore., loves family reunion meals and doesn’t understand the fuss over gourmet coffee. 

Q. What is the best part of your job?

No two days are ever alike—each day has its unique challenges as well as opportunities to make a difference for the veterans we are so honored to serve.
 

Q. What is the worst part of your job?

Email jail.

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

Professionally: President of ASHFSA in 2009 and receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award for AHF in 2010. Personally:My husband, Tim, and I raising our two beautiful girls.
 

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

We used an overnight delivery service to bring in fresh orchids, leis and specialty Hawaiian fruits for a premier event when I worked at Oregon Health & Science University.
 

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

Professional photographer traveling the world for National Geographic. 

Q. Which talent would you most like to have?

Photographic memory.

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

Live more in the moment and not be such a perfectionist.

Q. What is your favorite meal?

Campfires at our family reunions outside Red Lodge, Mont.

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

Gourmet coffee. 

Q. What are your words to live by?

“Shoot for the moon. If you miss, you’ll end up in the stars!” 

Q. If you had a time machine what historical event or era would you visit?

Walking down the Grand Staircase and partaking in 14-course meals with the first-class passengers on the Titanic. 

Q. What would be your dream vacation?

Hiking and sightseeing in all our National Parks.

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

Abraham Lincoln. 

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

Trekking the Himalayas in Nepal.

More From FoodService Director

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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Ideas and Innovation
email computer screen

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.

Ideas and Innovation
pinterest hand phone

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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