Confessions of Helen Phillips

Helen Phillips loves working with kids and fears disappointing people.

Helen Phillips, senior director of school nutrition at Norfolk Public Schools in Virginia, and the School Nutrition Association’s new president, fears disappointing people and never doubted that she was meant to be in child nutrition.

Q. What is the best part of your job?

The kids.

Q. What is the worst part of your job?

HR issues.

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

My five-year-old daughter.

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

Everyone wants something for free.

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

This is where I’m meant to be. I knew I wanted to work in school foodservice when I was in school.

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

I would like to grow three inches to be 5 feet 10 inches tall.

Q. What is your greatest fear?

Disappointing people.

Q. What is your favorite meal?

Simple meals, like fresh seafood and veggies.

Q. What is your "guilty pleasure?"

Ice cream. There also are times when you just need a cheeseburger and french fries.

Q. What will people always find in your refrigerator?

Milk and juice.

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

Baby octopus and rattlesnake, although I know there are a lot of people who eat those regularly.

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

Products that say they are all natural. There is no real definition of what that is.

Q. Read the book or see the movie?

See the movie. I have no time with a young child and work.

Q. What are your words to live by?

If it’s not fun, why do it?