Confessions of Tony Almeida

Tony Almeida hates staying within a budget and loves braised lamb shanks.
Tony Almeida, director of food and nutrition at 608-bed Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., hasn’t joined the organic and sustainable bandwagon but loves chocolate-covered raspberries.

Q. What is the best part of your job?

Dealing with employees and customers.

Q. What is the worst part of your job?

Staying within budget.

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

Winning the Silver Plate award in healthcare in 2010.

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

Probably selling insurance.

Q. Which talent would you most like to have?

Singing. It would be so cool to go to work every day making people happy.

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

Lose 30 pounds.

Q. What is your greatest fear?

Getting complacent and losing the drive.
 

Q. Which living person do you most admire?

Betty Perez, senior director of food and nutrition services at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, because of her achievements.

Q. What is your favorite meal?

Braised lamb shanks.

Q. What is your "guilty pleasure?"

Chocolate-covered raspberries.

Q. What will people always find in your refrigerator?

Lots of champagne.

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

Organic. All people need to do is wash their produce and it would all be organic.

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

Bone marrow.
 

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

Sustainable foods. People just throw these words around and they have no clue what they mean.

Q. What are your words to live by?

“I have the simplest of tastes; I only want the best.”

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