Raquel Vazquez

Farm-to-school and school garden allows Raquel Vazquez to shine.

Why Selected?

Brendan Ryan, director of food service for Framingham School District, says: Raquel worked for us during an internship, and upon its competition continued as assistant to the director. Raquel is bright, energetic, compassionate, professional and genuinely well rounded in job performance. Her work was consistently above average. Her biggest contribution to our district was the initiation of a farm-to-school program. She was also instrumental in the formation of a student-run garden.

Details

Director of Dining Services (Chartwells), Jaffrey-Rindge Cooperative School District, Jaffrey, N.H.
Age: 24
Education: B.S. in food and nutrition from Framingham (Mass.) State University; working on master’s in nutrition education
Years at organization: 3

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

Having had the opportunity to meet and learn from outstanding mentors, while working my way through very tough situations, to learn what it takes to successfully run a lunch program. I wouldn’t have been able to do anything in my career if I didn’t have really great instructors.

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

I have very fresh ideas from all the different places I’ve worked. I can go into any location with a new idea and a real sense of imagination.

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

My advisors at Framingham State were the first ones to give me the confidence I needed. They helped me steer my path from nutrition and dietetics—I was going for my R.D. I had much more of a passion for school nutrition. They reassured me that I didn’t need my R.D. to be a school nutrition professional.

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

When I entered my first internship I had no idea how much responsibility came with the job. I had to face my fears and learn how to manage the high stress, high pressure and high expectations. Having dealt with that while I was still in school really helped me learn to conquer my fears quickly.

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

The moment I learned how to deal with high-stress pressure and expectations. You gain that sense of confidence that you can do it.

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

I’d like to focus on learning new management techniques and ways to manage and lead a staff.

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

One of my cooks was out sick, so I had to make macaroni and cheese from scratch for the first time. I poured too much flour in the sauce. I was covered in flour and the sauce was chunky. I had to start all over again.

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

How much I stressed and worried about my job. Having dealt with many obstacles and worrying about every minute detail, I can now focus on the big picture and get the job done without worrying so much.

Under 30

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
walk-in cooler

The walk-in cooler can serve as a gathering place for more than just produce. When temperatures rise, staff at Empire State South restaurant in Atlanta host meetings in the walk-in and make occasional trips to hang out throughout the day to beat the back-of-house heat.

Menu Development
college students eating

Taste may reign supreme when college students choose their next snack, but operators should also pay attention to factors such as price and portion size. Here are the most important attributes students consider when choosing snacks, according to Technomic’s 2017 College and University Consumer Trend Report .

Taste: 78%

Ability to satisfy my appetite between meals: 67%

Price: 64%

Portion size: 54%

Familiarity: 46%

Overall nutrition value: 40%

Protein content: 36%

All-natural ingredients: 29%

Fiber content: 27%

...

Managing Your Business
student shame
“We allow students to charge meals at all levels; even in high school, they can charge a certain number of meals. [After that is met,] they are given an alternate meal,” Sharon Glosson, executive director of school nutrition services for North East Independent School District, says. Elementary students can charge up to $15 of meals; middle schoolers can charge $10; and high schoolers can charge $5. “Ultimately, [food services is] carrying out the policy but we’re not necessarily the creators of the policy, or have the final say on the policy, because that budget decision has to be made by the...
Ideas and Innovation
retro diner

“Child Nutrition was able to purchase a separate facility for summer feeding, so I decided to come up with some way to feed kiddos and keep them cool while doing so. I believe the colors, the music and just the entire atmosphere of the ’50s are fun, so I came up with a design for a diner-style space. The diner is also an area for catering, meetings, birthday parties and a break room throughout the year.”

FSD Resources