FoodService Director | January 2014

Readers share "The Best" and veggies take over the center of the plate.

FSD of the Month

FSD of the Month, January 2014: Art Dunham has transformed dining services at Pinellas County Schools by building a production center for cold food prep.

Steal this idea

Each month, I meet with a small group of employees from food service, EVS, transportation and laundry to review the health system’s mission, vision and values and to talk about ways we can...
So students have a chance to celebrate with their friends, we offer a holiday meal in both of our residential facilities. The events are posted on the university calendar so that all university...
To build support and awareness of our Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) program, we partnered with Acson America, a Hispanic community activist organization, to host breakfast meetings with principals...
We switched from an 8-by-8-inch hinged container in our deli to waxed paper. This allowed us to more efficiently mark our pricing. 
We invited the employees of one of our high-tech clients to stage an Iron Chef contest in the kitchen of our commissary in San Francisco. This client has a young and energetic workforce that is very...
To test our new dining experience Rendevous before it officially opens, we invited our 75 resident assistants to dine with us for lunch.
We offer color-contrast trays with meal orders to better assist visually impaired patients and enhance their dining experience. The trays help the patient see the outline and location of items, such...
We are currently developing LiveWell Plates for the Intermountain Healthcare System. Chefs at five different hospitals are creating them, with the criteria being less than 600 calories, 700...

Cover story

From desserts to food tours and breweries, find out what we ranked at the top of our food list. 
For the fourth year, we asked operators to share the bests they’ve encountered in a variety of areas, including retail, the menu and design. Consider this list a jumping-off point for some...

Menu Strategies

We may be living in a burger-crazed country, but customers are demanding more than just ground beef patties these days. 
Everyone loves chocolate cake, but even the best desserts grow tiresome.


Rice has long been a staple of menus, but the usual white and brown varieties aren’t cutting it anymore. 
Cutting back on meat is a cost-saving, healthful tactic for many operators. 
Government food policy and the popularity of healthful foods are helping America’s rice growers. 

Under 30

Kerry Chasteen, quality assurance manager/interim dining services manager at the University of Maine, Orono, has a great sense of urgency when dealing with important matters and having outstanding follow-through.
Erin Thacker, R.D., nutrition and wellness educator at Chesapeake Public Schools, Chesapeake, Va., has developed documentation and works closely with the nurses at each school to help these students participate in the school's program.

What you need to know

In November, popular chain Denny’s opened its first concept on a military base. Denny’s Fresh Express at Nellis Air Force Base, in Las Vegas, is a fast-casual version of a...
Foodservice operators in LTC facilities are anticipating a shift in resident care from a medical model to a "neighborhood" model...
This summer, farmers’ markets came to the campus of the College of Holy Cross, in Worcester, Mass.

Managing your business

Late night. Students. Lines. Cups of water. When combined, these created some issues at Bowling Green State University, in Ohio. 

Emerging Trends

This month: 10 trends for 2014, FDA curbs antibiotics in livestock, laptops nixed in Michigan cafeterias and more.


Art Dunham, foodservice director for Pinellas County Schools, in Florida, loves Sam Adams Boston Lager, thinks eating escargot is weird and would love to visit Brazil and Southeast Asia.
Tazeen Chowdhury, foodservice director at Mt. Lebanon School District, in Pennsylvania, doesn’t get food foams or green ketchup and wants to vacation in a tree house in Bali. 


Mix up your rice options with this Basmati Rice and Wild Rice Blend recipe.
This burger is no ordinary burger. Featuring two different types of potatoes and fresh vegetables, this burger is filled with endless flavors and layers.
Szechuan Beef is pretty popular at the University of Kansas, in Lawrence, according to Travis Fell, culinary assistant manager. “I believe its popularity comes from it being a fresh, scratch product that is produced in house,” he explains. “The students seem to flock to all of our Asian dishes.”
Spice up your fish selection with this unique salmon dish from El Camino Hospital in California.
Bring a taste of barbeque to your operation year-round with these Pineapple BBQ Sausage Burgers.
Click through a Snapshots of all the recipes for the January 2014 issue. This month features unique burger and rice recipes.
This jasmine rice recipe from Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio, is perfect for a side dish or main dish component.
Margaritas don’t always come in a glass. This vegan burger brings the flavor of a margarita in a burger form and is topped with guacamole for a great presentation.
Recipes were created at the university’s test kitchen by dining services staff after Executive Chef Kevin Cruz traveled to China to learn more about the cuisine’s techniques and flavors.
Featuring chicken, zucchini and other veggies, this dish is a great combination of a main dish with a side salad component.
These simple salmon burgers are easy to prep and offer endless flavor.
Colorado Springs School District 11 developed a kid-favorite lunch staple from scratch. 
This flavorful rice recipe is quick to prepare and works well for a side dish.
Switch up your burger selection with this Turkey Mediterranean Burger. Featuring numerous veggies and two different types of olives, this burger offers a healthier option.
Served in the Mexican concept Nuevo at this northern Indiana university, students enjoy Nuevo Tacos because of the “full flavor and freshness of our recipes and that they have the option to choose how they would like their taco to be complemented,” says Anthony Coschignano, director of dining...
This salad has a quick preparation time and hits flavorful notes in every bite.
“Fish gets a bad rap in school foodservice,” shares Steven Burke, foodservice chef. “It is underutilized and the dishes are usually ancient or not so appealing to that age group. Fish tacos have been a popular dish in mainstream restaurants for a few years now, and I thought it was time to bring a...
Filled with greens and veggies, this salad is perfect as a dinner and lunch main or side dish.
This unique burger recipe combines white beans and fruit salsa for a sweet and flavorful meal option.
This rice pudding dessert is perfect for a 30-minute dessert idea.
Taking advantage of the popularity of ethnic flavors, Timothy Gee, executive chef, finishes these seafood tacos with chimichurri sauce. “My customers love chimichurri sauce and this is a great recipe that is both light and flavorful,” he says. Packed with cilantro and garlic, the sauce provides...
Satisfy customer demand for ethnic dishes with these Asian-influenced recipes. As part of our ongoing Signature Series, we share Michigan State's Bangkok Ramen Noodle Bowl recipe, as well as...
Quinoa takes a lead role in this salad recipe. Also featuring zucchini and green beans, this salad is filled with healthy ingredients.
Three Takes On offers several different versions of the same classic dish. This month: Tacos.
Incorporate duck into your menu with this creative burger topped with Red Cider Slaw.

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
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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
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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.

Managing Your Business
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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...

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.

FSD Resources