Amanda Carlson

Amanda Carlson's healthy menu changes has made her a success at Vestavia Hills City Schools.

Why Selected?

According to Adrianne Topping, child nutrition program manager, Amanda has made an impact on foodservice by:

  • Making positive healthy changes to the menu to follow new federal and state guidelines
  • Hiring intelligent staff members who have achieved high participation numbers and have displayed excellent marketing tools
  • Being the youngest person to hold this position in the district

Details

Child Nutrition Director, Vestavia Hills City Schools, Vestavia Hills, AL
Age: 29
Education: B.S. in human nutrition and hospitality management from the University of Alabama
Years at organization: 4

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

I feel like my proudest accomplishment is achieving my dream job at the age of 25, working for one of the top school systems in the state. I knew that I wanted to become a child nutrition program director to serve healthy meals to students and help to change the image of school lunch.

Q. What would you say you excel at over more seasoned colleagues?

I am able to think outside of the box and I am open to new ideas and trends in the foodservice industry.

Q. What's the best career advice you've been given?

Choose a career path that provides satisfaction and the opportunity to do work that makes you happy. And, people won’t always remember what you said, but they will remember how you treated them.

Q. What's been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome?

Coming into my job as a 25-year-old and having to gain the trust and respect of my colleagues. Having the support of my school district and administration has helped me to overcome any challenges that have come my way.

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

It is always rewarding when you hear students say they enjoyed a new menu item. I am thankful for my child nutrition professional staff who are willing to try new and innovative menu ideas.

Q. What would you like to accomplish in your career in the next two years?

I want to continue to improve our participation rates for school lunch and breakfast and continue to develop new innovative menu ideas.

Q. What's been your funniest on-the-job disaster?

One summer I had a school freezer go out. When I opened the door to the freezer, the smell of rancid meat overcame me and ruined everything I was wearing. To this day I will never forget that smell.

Q. What can you look back at now and laugh at?

It is funny how I used to worry about things that were out of my control. I have learned to be flexible and not to stress about things that I have no control over.

Under 30

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
sam kass peter romeo

We’ve heard it time and again—millennials are extremely conscious about what they eat. They want to know what is in their food, where it is from, how it was made and more. And, as we’re learning, Gen Zers are even more aware and information-demanding about the food they eat than their older counterparts.

Hitting those higher-quality food standards is no easy feat. But it’s becoming a must, said chef Sam Kass—known for being the White House chef for the Obamas, a senior White House policy advisor on nutrition policy while he cooked, and currently the senior food analyst for NBC News...

Sponsored Content
chicken veggies recipes

From Tyson Food Service.

With operators becoming increasingly strapped for time and labor, it’s a strain to prepare every aspect of a menu item back-of-house or keep the menu populated with a variety of options. While it doesn’t mean they have to cut corners when developing new items, operators can use more versatile items that are simple enough to apply across the menu to save on labor and cost as well as be more efficient.

With versatile proteins, operators can increase menu opportunities without kitchen complexity, and drive new customer traffic or increase the number...

Industry News & Opinion

An audit into Kennesaw State University’s dining services revealed the university accrued roughly $2 million from off-campus students paying for meal plans as part of their semester fees, according to a report by Fox 5 Atlanta .

Meal plans at the Kennesaw, Ga., university are automatically assessed to students whether they live on campus or not. The university does not refund unused meals, draining the pockets of commuter students each semester.

“I think it’s ridiculous that we pay all this tuition and then we’re here paying another big fee,” commuter student Emmanuel...

Industry News & Opinion

As part of a 10-year contract to run Eastern Michigan University’s foodservice, Chartwells will invest $5 million in the Ypsilanti, Mich., university, as well as provide it with $18 million in capital improvements, according to a report by the Detroit Free Press .

The university’s board of regents approved the contract on Tuesday, citing the new revenue as an opportunity to expand and improve campus foodservice. EMU’s website indicates the partnership will allow for more student input as well as the introduction of food trucks and improved technology.

“The primary reason...

FSD Resources