SUNY Potsdam appoints Chef John VanKennen

The chef will focus on using local ingredients whenever possible.

SUNY Potsdam Auxiliary College and Educational Services (PACES) has appointed John VanKennen as chef of Lehman Dining Center, the all-you-care-to-eat facility on the upstate New York campus.

VanKennen is a native of North Country and began his career in foodservice at a local Potsdam bakery, according to a SUNY Potsdam release. For seven years after graduating high school, VanKennen worked in various restaurants in Massachusetts, returning to Potsdam “with a passion to serve great food with the freshest ingredients,” the press release states.

Most recently, VanKennen served as chef and production manager for dining services at Clarkson University, in Potsdam, and prior as head chef at Violi’s Restaurant in Massena. The press release reports that VanKennen’s focus for the Lehman Dining Center will be “to make the best food possible using fresh ingredients, in keeping with PACES’ mission to buy local whenever possible.”

“Fresh ingredients are what really turn a good dish into a great dish,” VanKennen says. “We cut the peppers, onions and vegetables here every day now, so we are working toward another level of quality and a more distinct flavor.”

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

In an effort to reduce turnover, lunchroom supervisors at elementary schools in a Chicago-area district will see an increase in pay at the start of the new school year, the Chicago Tribune reports .

The board of education for Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 on Aug. 8 approved a proposal to increase wages for those supervisors, boosting starting pay from from $12 to $14 an hour. Returning employees who already earn above the new rate will see an hourly increase of 2%.

Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Joel Martin said he hopes the increased wages will allow...

Ideas and Innovation
coffee shop trailor graphic

A familiar face is coming to the roads of Rutgers University this fall: the Starbucks mermaid. The New Brunswick, N.J.-based school is testing a Starbucks truck throughout the upcoming semester, NJ.com reports . The company began testing trucks on college campuses in 2014, and now has mobile locations at Arizona State University, James Madison University in Virginia, East Carolina University in North Carolina and Sacramento State in California.

The trucks will serve the full lineup of Starbucks beverages that’s available at the outlet’s brick-and-mortar location at Rutgers,...

Industry News & Opinion

A study from Virginia Tech has found a connection between school meal participation and obesity in students. From data that predates the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act , the findings raise questions over whether nutrition standards go far enough.

The research evaluated data from 1998 to 2007, comparing first through eighth grade students who partook in free and reduced-price lunch and those who qualified but opted out. Wen You, associate professor in the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech, says she expected to validate theories that increased breakfast...

Industry News & Opinion

Buffalo Public Schools is turning to local chefs and a little competition to help create new menu items, the Buffalo News reports .

In October, local chefs will compete against each other and a team of seven to 10 students led by chef Bobby Anderson, a former contestant on “Hell’s Kitchen,” to create lunch recipes that comply with USDA nutritional requirements and use seasonal produce sourced locally.

“This Chef Challenge is another way to engage our youth in a fun, friendly competition with local area chefs who can help create appealing recipes that will be incorporated...

FSD Resources