Confessions of Tony Geraci

Tony Geraci loves barbecue, doesn't understand cooking with foam and fears running out of time.
Tony Geraci, the new executive director of the Memphis City Public Schools child nutrition program, loves barbecue, doesn’t understand cooking with foam and fears running out of time.

Q. What is the best part of your job?

The kids.

Q. What is the worst part of your job?

The adults. People have their own agendas.

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

My three kids. The other thing is being bashed by the holy trinity of dictum: Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck.

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

Something with sailboats or racecars.

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

That I would be six foot four and 195 pounds of strapping manliness.

Q. What is your greatest fear?

That I’m going to run out of time.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?

My wife. She puts up with me. She deals with my nonsense on a daily basis. 

Q. What is your favorite meal?

Sunday dinner with my 101-year-old Italian grandmother. She still cooks and it’s always awesome.

Q. What is your "guilty pleasure?"

My unholy love of barbecue. The things I would do for brisket and ribs. The first thing you have to do is admit you have problem.

Q. What will people always find in your refrigerator?

Some pesto concoction. I’ve been doing that since I was a little kid when my grandfather taught me how to make it.

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

Foam. I mean, really? I used to have European chefs throw pots and pans at me for not skimming the foam off the top of stockpots as they were cooking and now it’s the height of cuisine.

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

Live baby octopus. It was in Hong Kong and it was sticking to my throat going down.

Q. Are you a morning or evening person?

I’m a morning person and I am an evening animal. The fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning is the place where I live.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
tray number

We created lucky tray days to help create an experience surrounding our brand. The trays are numbered; we pick a number and the winner receives a free lunch. We’ve enlisted the help of one of our coaches, who calls out the random lucky winner, and it drums up a lot of excitement.

Menu Development
recipe revamp chicken soup

As a continuous care retirement community, The Garlands of Barrington in Illinois provides daily foodservice to 270 independent living and skilled nursing care residents, with the majority of sodium restrictions coming from the latter, says Executive Chef Nicola Torres. Instead of cooking two versions of chicken noodle soup—a favorite offered at least twice a week—he reworked his recipe into a flavorful lower-sodium version that appeals to all. “Everybody eats soup, so I created a homemade stock that uses no salt at all, ramping up the flavor with fresh herbs and plenty of vegetables,...

Ideas and Innovation
bus advertising jagermeister

Because many locals use the bus system, we paid for some full bus wraps to advertise [job openings within] our dining services program. The buses go all over campus where students can see them, and to apartments where the public can see them. To top it off, the cost wasn’t much more than newspaper rates.

Managing Your Business
line kings girl goat open kitchen

Open kitchen concepts satisfy guests’ curiosity and desire for transparency. But there are some caveats. Here’s how to create a positive experience for both staff and customers when the walls are down.

Train to serve

With the back-of-house up front, everybody gets hospitality training. “Our cooks understand the food and what they’re doing incredibly, but translating that to guests requires [soft] skills that need to be honed,” says Marie Petulla, co-owner of two restaurants in Southern California.

Dress for a mess

At Girl & The Goat in Chicago, chef-owner Stephanie...

FSD Resources