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Customization at the forefront of Chartwells K12’s latest concepts

Mac & Cheesyology and Revolution Noodle allow students to make noodle-based dishes their own while also encouraging them to try new foods.
A Chartwells K12 employee holds up a mac & cheese bowl from Mac & Cheesyology
Photo: Chartwells K12

Chartwells K12 is letting students put their own spins on noodles with its two latest concepts, Mac & Cheesyology and Revolution Noodle.

The new brands, which debuted a couple of weeks ago and are being rolled out nationwide,  have already been met positively by students, says the Chartwells K12 team, which hopes the new offerings will also encourage students to expand their palates.

Customization is key

At Revolution Noodle, students can create their own bowls using ramen or soba noodles and different broths such as chicken and ginger soy. They can then choose from various toppings such as bok choy, mushrooms, scallions, ginger and fresh basil.

Likewise,Mac & Cheesyology offers a customizable twist on the comfort food classic. While a traditional cheddar cheese sauce is offered daily, the concept has different themed days that feature unique toppings. For example, during Italian day, students can top their mac and cheese with alfredo sauce, a pesto drizzle or roasted tomatoes with rosemary, and during a Mexican-themed day, they could choose from black beans, sour cream, corn, jalapenos and more.

Executive Chef Liberty Rodgers, who is helping roll out Mac & Cheesyology at Pembroke Pines Charter Schools in Pembroke Pines, Fla., says the themed meals have been popular with students.

“[Students] were just so enthralled with everything they could put on it and some of the kids just came and said, ‘You know what, I just want the mac and cheese,’ but then some got really excited and added all the different things,” she says.

Mac & Cheesyology will be offered at all grade levels, while Revolution Noodle is currently targeting middle and high schools. However, the concept could still be expanded to elementary students in the future, says Peter Gilhooly, vice president of culinary at Chartwells K12.

“We could do like a lomi noodle salad or a soba noodle salad so [younger students] wouldn't have the challenges of dealing with a broth,” he says.

Introducing students to new ingredients

At Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in Chapel Hill, N.C., Regional Executive Chef Brandon Lewis is using Revolution Noodle to motivate students to try new things.

“Not a lot of kids are really excited about tofu, but it’s a great way for us to introduce it to them and then get them to try something a little bit different,” he says.

Mac & Cheesyology also provides an opportunity for students to expand their palates, especially because mac and cheese is a familiar menu item to many.  “Using a great comfort food, if you will, like mac and cheese, it acts like a vehicle to introduce them to new foods they normally wouldn't try,” says Gilhooly.

While the rollout of the new concepts has just started, Rodgers says that students already have been responding well.

“I was walking the dining room to see how the kids respond to [Mac & Cheeseology], and there were more empty plates on those first five days of Mac & Cheesyology than I've seen,” she says. “So, to me, that's just the best measure of success.”

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