Confessions of Jessica Shelly

Jessica Shelly doesn’t get celebrity reality shows, wouldn’t travel back in time if given the option and admires Walt Disney.
Jessica Shelly, food services director at Cincinnati Public Schools, doesn’t get celebrity reality shows, wouldn’t travel back in time if given the option and admires Walt Disney. 

Q. What is the best part of your job?

Getting to watch a child try (and like!) a new food for the first time.

Q. What is the worst part of your job?

Navigating through the flaming hoops of red tape.

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

It's a tie between marrying my soul mate and getting to be a mom to my triplet boys.

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

Sushi. Ironically, we started serving it our high schools this year.

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

Executive in consumer marketing knowledge.

Q. Which talent would you most like to have?

Playing the piano. My playing is so bad I can't Handel it. Ha! (Maybe I should have said joke telling.)

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

Being too demanding of myself.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?

My mom. She is my rock and my role model.

Q. What is your favorite meal?

Tapas and sangria.

Q. What is your "guilty pleasure?"

Salt and vinegar potato chips. I don't have a sweet tooth, I have a salt craving.

Q. What will people always find in your refrigerator?

Frank's Red Hot. I truly do put that sh*t on everything.

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

Chef reality shows.

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

When I was an intern at the Cincinnati Zoo in undergrad, we would eat what we fed to the animals—mealworms, crickets and primate biscuits were a frequent lunch.

Q. Are you a morning or evening person?

I'm a night owl.

Q. What are your words to live by?

“This, too, shall pass.”

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

Two words: butterfly effect. I wouldn't do it. 

Q. What would be your dream vacation?

Galapagos Islands.

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

Walt Disney. I loved his creative entrepreneurship.

Q. What is your most treasured possession?

My most treasured possessions are not things, they are my family, friends and memories.

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

Set foot in every continent.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
chicken and waffles

Our elementary menu is currently riding the breakfast-anytime advertising trend by offering Breakfast for Lunch every Tuesday. It ranks as our highest participation, and it was a great way for us to introduce chicken and waffles inspired by an IHOP dish.

Ideas and Innovation
dress code geeks

Team uniforms are a way we encourage fun. I tell the mangers that every person on your team needs to look like a member of your team, but they can decide together what they want to wear. When the students see a cafeteria person that is matching and having fun with their outfits, they relate to those people better. We don’t want them to look stiff and stuffy.

Menu Development
meatloaf slices plate

“This is the best meatloaf I’ve ever had,” a diner at Alcatel-Lucent telecommunications in Naperville, Ill., once told chef Iraj Fernando. The dish was rooted in a tried-and-true source—the “Betty Crocker Cookbook.”

“I just seasoned the breadcrumbs differently, used fresh parsley and beat the eggs to make them frothier,” says Fernando, executive chef and manager for Southern Foodservice Management.

Consumer interest is up for classic and comforting meat dishes like meatballs (16%), beef pot pie (26%) and meatloaf (12%) for dinner now compared to two years ago, shows...

Ideas and Innovation
oxford school district cafeteria

We have spent considerable money making cafeterias cool again. New paint jobs, crazy color patterns, custom graphics and changes in lighting schemes have made some of our cafes popular gathering places. We’ve also experimented with videos, cable TV programs and music. We involved a number of student groups and student input in improving the atmosphere, especially in our high school and middle school cafeterias.

FSD Resources