For all of those who purchasing lunch at school, who among us have actually taken the time to really think about where our food comes from?
Kitchen Head Chef Rosanne McRoberts answers many of the burning questions we’ve all wondered about our cafeteria. The staff is consistently seeking ways to make our school lunches as healthy as possible. They are taking initiative by using whole grain substitutes and offering a wider variety of fruits and vegetables available daily. They are taking strides in allergy conscious and dietary restriction availabilities by always providing vegetarian and gluten-free meal selections.
McRoberts also assures that she gets all ingredients from fresh and local food distributors from the surrounding areas. All fruits and vegetables are supplied from Costa, a Boston based company who has been providing produce to hotels, restaurants, and collegiate dining throughout the state. Costa offers a variety of over 3,500 fruits. According to the Going Green initiative, “[Costa] has supported local farmers and the utilization of sustainable and organic farm methods for more than fifty years.” Once received from the distributors, our cafeteria staff cuts and washes all vegetables daily to insure that all of the food is made fresh and clean.
McRoberts goes on to explain that a large majority of our foods are distributed from Sysco, a Boston based organization that delivers our meats, yogurts, dried pastas, and crackers. Their 194 distribution facilities have been servicing more than 425,000 customers. They’ve been operating for over 150 years, and offer “high quality standards and oversight” and ”have strong partnerships with major national and regional brands – names you and your customers recognize and trust.”
The cafeteria staff has mastered the quantity of food that is needed in order to minimize waste. This is due to the fact that the staff keeps production logs and is able to successfully estimate how much a specific product will be consumed each day. This leaves them with very few leftovers, if any at all.
Beyond ordering some of the freshest and most trustworthy produce that the state offers, the cafeteria workers cater to the needs and preferences of high school students. By popular demand, the soups — which McRoberts calls, “a labor of love” — were reintroduced to the cafeteria on November 1st.
They have received raving reviews. Senior Deborah Getachew said, “They’re fresh and delicious, and they’re a good alternative to regular lunches.” Her favorites include Italian wedding, creamy cheddar broccoli, and chicken noodle. Senior Erik “Riki” Hajderllari said, “I’d like to see the clam chowder featured more.” Senior Dan Dempsey praised the nutritional value the soup offers, citing the fresh veggies and broth as making the best combination.
McRoberts explains that the kitchen always looks to serve the more popular meals like burgers, sweet and sour chicken, and fajitas in greater frequency. They are always looking for feedback on the meals. This helps to determine which meals are preferred and ultimately served more often.
After spending one morning in the kitchen, it is clear that the staff members have a passion for what they do. McRobert’s most favorite part about working in the kitchen is the ability to provide a nutritious and tasty meal for all.