Setting the Globally-Inspired Lunchroom Table

Back to Basics: Asian Fusion Lunch Tray

Back to Basics: Asian Fusion Lunch Tray

The JSI Back to Basics Workshops to Go are 3-hour internationally-inspired culinary workshops dedicated to expanding the culinary skills of school nutrition staff and promoting healthier, freshly cooked, and customizable school menu options. In Back to Basics: Asian Fusion, staff advance their culinary skills and confidence in preparing a customizable Build-Your-Own Asian bowl with student-favorites such as chicken teriyaki, crispy tofu, confetti fried, rice, and more! Back to Basics: Latin American Cuisine brings authentic Latin American flavors to schools and teaches school nutrition staff how to prepare a Build-Your-Own Street Taco menu option featuring fish tacos, fresh salsa, Spanish rice, and more!

 

These new menu-driven culinary workshops were created from a collaboration between the JSI Nutrition Education Specialist Jumana Saleh and the JSI chefs. In a recent interview, Saleh shared her observations from a recent visit to schools. “What’s been really fun is that the school nutrition staff are talking about how they can apply the workshops in their schools. Once the recipes are complete and we’ve set up the meal the way it would be served to the students, the school nutrition staff get to try and evaluate the customizable meal. They love it and start discussing how they will be able to execute and implement it – which means they’re taking it seriously.”

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Incorporating new flavors does not have to be a daunting task for school nutrition programs. Workshop menus are crafted to ensure flavors pair together well, recipe are standardized, nutritional analysis is completed and NSLP meal components are identified, and options for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians are included.

A huge benefit of the Back to Basics culinary workshops is the wealth of knowledge from the JSI chef instructors.  Districts vary significantly and the chefs recognize and adapt to the differences in space and equipment available in school kitchens. “JSI chefs give the staff tips and tricks that boost culinary confidence in the kitchen. The JSI chef teaches them how to adjust their own settings and how to utilize what their school kitchen has available.”

Back to Basics: Latin American Cuisine Lunch Tray

Back to Basics: Latin American Cuisine Lunch Tray

Upon the completion of a Back to Basics culinary workshop, schools who would like additional chef support are encouraged to request a Live-Setting Culinary Training, where the JSI chef returns to facilitate the new customizable meal alongside kitchen staff during regular hours.

“At the end, because it’s customized menu, everyone’s plate has similar flavors but with their own creative twist. We encourage having students be able to explore things without it feeling like a huge commitment – like trying tofu without having it be their whole meal. We aim to expose the kids to foods from all over the world and try more things and be healthier overall.”

JSI Director Appointed to ICN Advisory Board

Karen McGrail, Director of John Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition.

Karen McGrail, Director of John Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition.

In March 2019, the newly formed Culinary Training and Education Advisory Board convened their first meeting at the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) headquarters at the University of Mississippi. Karen McGrail, MEd, RDN, LDN, Director of The John C. Stalker Institute (JSI) of Food and Nutrition, has been appointed as an advisory board member for the newly established national program.

The Culinary Training and Education Initiative is a new collaboration between the USDA and ICN. The goal of the program is to create and offer culinary resources and trainings that address the competencies, knowledge, and skills necessary to assist school nutrition professionals and school chefs to prepare and serve high quality, student-approved school meals.

McGrail has served as Director of The John C. Stalker Institute since 2012, as well as an adjunct faculty member for the Food and Nutrition Department at Framingham State University for the past 20 years. According to McGrail, “JSI has long offered culinary workshops for school nutrition staff in Massachusetts aimed at promoting delicious and nutritious made from scratch recipes. Our new Back to Basics Culinary Workshops to Go incorporate Gen Z-inspired food trends, include recipes for Asian fusion, Latin American cuisines and Mediterranean flavors.” McGrail says “I was thrilled and honored to be invited to be a member of the Culinary Training and Education Advisory Board and look forward to contributing to this comprehensive national culinary training initiative.

Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit – Highlights for May 22, 2019

Join school nutrition directors, managers and business managers from across the Commonwealth at the 2019 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit on May 21 and 22 aimed at promoting healthy students and healthy school nutrition programs. Check out the highlights for May 22nd!

Chef Dan Giusti, founder of Brigaid

The excitement from the first day of the summit continues with a morning keynote presentation Finding a Purpose in Cooking: A Chef’s Story by Chef Dan Giusti. In this keynote, Dan explains his journey of stepping out of his comfort zone to find his purpose in cooking and utilize his goal to empower schools to serve real, wholesome food, cooked with care and passion. With this goal in mind, he founded Brigaid in 2016 and uses his experience to share valuable lessons he has learned along the way about the challenge of cooking in schools and discuss what the future holds.

We look forward to celebrating the successes of Massachusetts school nutrition programs and professionals during our recognition ceremony on the morning of May 22nd. In the afternoon, Robert Leshin, Director of the Office for Food and Nutrition at DESE will share News You Can Use. As we wind down from this school year and transition to planning for next fall, Rob will take a look back on our collective successes over the past year and look forward to some new initiatives. Rob will provide an update on federal and state level changes and highlight areas of support from the department to help school nutrition programs reach their goals.

May 22nd Breakthrough Sessions

May 22nd Breakthrough Sessions

As in previous years, when you register, you will select from one of three learning tracks to target your professional development. The Boost Your Bottom Line track offers the opportunity to learn from other directors about their favorite products in USDA Foods – Director Tested, Kid Approved or learn where to find local foods and procurement methods in Local Procurement in Child Nutrition Programs. Ensure your communication skills are in top shape with the Communicate with Confidence track by learning how to diagnose misunderstanding and sharing your own perspectives with Wait. What? Or How to Get Curious When the Other Person is Clearly Wrong. Engagement and motivation also play a role in communication, so we’ve included Creating a Motivating Workplace, an ICN-developed session, where managers will explore factors that motivate staff to be engaged and productive. If your goal is to discover culinary resources and new inspirations to enhance your school menu, you won’t want to miss the Build Culinary Excitement track. Join Massachusetts Farm to School, Project Bread and Massachusetts school nutrition programs in a culinary battle highlighting local ingredients in The Power of Local – Culinary Throwdown. This track also offers tips, tricks and a food demo by Chef Samantha Gasbarro for utilizing USDA foods to create trendy, student-approved recipes on a budget with Modernizing USDA Food Recipes – Keeping Menus Trendy and Budget Friendly.

Register online by May 1st. We look forward to seeing you at the summit!

Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit – Highlights for May 21, 2019

Join school nutrition directors, managers and business managers from across the Commonwealth at the 2019 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit on May 21 and 22 aimed at promoting healthy students and healthy school nutrition programs. Check out the highlights for May 21st!

Jon Colby, morning keynote speaker.

We kick off the summit in high gear with Jon Colby’s morning improv keynote session Don’t Worry…Work Happy. Did you know that people who are happy at work are more successful in their jobs? This might seem obvious, but it’s actually backed by Harvard research. In fact, one study proves that managers can improve their customer satisfaction rating by 42% simply by having a positive mindset. In this keynote, Jon will offer helpful tips and exercises using positive psychology to promote a positive mindset. From building a supportive culture to having difficult conversations, you won’t want to miss this dynamic presentation which will give you a myriad of ideas to help you work happy.

 

Ervin Watson, afternoon keynote speaker.

We are thrilled to offer the Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace as the afternoon keynote session by Ervin Watson. Ervin will share insight on appreciation as a communication strategy that has the potential to accelerate every area of your operation. Discover how this approach can boost employee engagement, retention, team satisfaction and, ultimately, customer service.

New this year! A designated time for exhibits has been included on the schedule for May 21st. Be sure to take advantage of the wealth of resources from our exhibitors!

As in previous years, when you register, you will select from one of three learning tracks to target your professional development. Our afternoon keynote speaker, Ervin Watson, will spend the day with us leading both of the Communicate with Confidence breakout sessions where you will learn the Four Essential Habits of a Game Changer and take a deeper dive into the Five Languages of Appreciation with a self-evaluation to determine the “language” of your staff – leading you to an action plan you can implement in your program. The Boost Your Bottom Line learning track offers hot topics in school nutrition you won’t want to miss, including Solutions to Recovering Unpaid Meal Charges and Thinking Outside the Lunch Tray – Strategies to Increase Revenue. If you are looking for innovative ways to integrate chefs into your school nutrition program, the Build Culinary Excitement learning track is for you! Setting the Globally-Inspired Lunchroom Table showcases cultural dishes and flavors from Eastern Asia, Latin America and the Mediterranean region with a culinary demo and school recipes to match Gen Z food trends. Explore how school nutrition programs across the Commonwealth are Adding Chefs into the Mix during this panel discussion of a variety different ways schools are utilizing chefs.

Looking for the perfect way to wrap up the day? Unwind after a full day of professional development at the SNA of MA Reception and Exhibits! Relax with your peers and vendors while enjoying snacks and a free beverage (included in your $10 ticket price). This is networking at its best!

Register online by May 1st. We look forward to seeing you at the summit!

News Roundup

Photo: February 2019 SNA Publication

School Nutrition Programs across the Commonwealth are working diligently to ensure that students receive fresh meals and learn about new food topics, while also helping serve their community members. Check out the recent news highlighting Massachusetts schools!

In November, an article detailed the partnership between Framingham State University and Sodexo with Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School. In this partnership, a trial was implemented on the FSU campus to assess the biological effects of different macronutrient diets.

In February, Waltham public schools were recognized for their reworked breakfast and lunch school programs. Some of the upgrades made to the district’s programs included bringing speakers in to do short presentations on food topics for children, incorporating herbs and plants into the curriculum, and partnering with Greater Boston Food Bank to help Waltham residents in need of food.

In February, Boston mayor Marty Walsh discussed My Way Café, which is a new program being implemented into many Boston schools to deliver fresh food to young children. The program allows students the opportunity to choose delicious and nutritious meals cafeteria-style in their schools.

In the February edition SNA magazine, Billerica Public Schools were highlighted for their Food Market – a coordinated program promoted by the BPS School Nutrition department. The Market is open to all residents of Billerica and features a selection of 15-20 different fresh and shelf-stable items and serves around 1,600 community members.

News Roundup

Broccoli, baby carrots, and cherry tomatoes prepared for healthy school lunch.School Nutrition Programs across the Commonwealth are working diligently to ensure that students receive fresh meals, access to fruits and vegetables, a healthy breakfast to start their day, and lessons in eating locally – among many other things. Check out the recent news highlighting Massachusetts schools!

Dover-Sherborn Goes Back to Basics with Latin American Cuisine

JSI Chef wears gloves to hold the jalapeño pepper.

JSI Chef Brendan during the food demo

On December 5, 2018, Dover-Sherborn Regional High School participated in The John Stalker Institute’s Back to Basics Latin American Cuisine culinary Workshop to Go.During this 3-hour workshop, school nutrition staff learned about the ingredients and health benefits of foods from Latin America, and discovered healthy cooking techniques during a food demo. Nutrition staff also advanced their culinary skills by creating the following Latin American-inspired recipes.

  • Blackened Fish, Pulled Chicken and Pinto Taco Beans
  • Peppy Quinoa and Spanish Brown Rice
  • Crunchy Kale Slaw, Fresh Salsa, Mexicali Corn
  • Peach Salsa and Tropical Fruit Salad

The staff worked in groups to prepare these student-friendly recipes, and were given the opportunity to taste-test an authentic Build-Your-Own Latin American Street Taco.

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Cutting a lime used in the fresh salsa.

In tasting the recipe, the staff and the director had the opportunity to critique, discuss, and experience the Latin American Cuisine firsthand to ultimately decide which recipes to menu at their school. Through this workshop, staff have enhanced their culinary skills and built the confidence needed to prepare this new, popular menu option.

To learn more about the Back to Basics: Latin American Cuisine workshop, please visit our website to request a Workshop To Go or visit the JSI Resource Center page!

Foxborough Focuses on Customer Service

Foxborough School Nutrition hosted the Exceptional Customer Service Workshop to Go on Monday, November 19, 2018. This workshop brings group activities, a video, reflections, and discussions together for an immersive and interactive learning experience.

Activity: How do we rate?

A group activity to reflect on “how do I deliver great customer service?”

These group activities include:

  • Thinking about your own positive and negative customer service experiences
  • Completing a self-assessment rating worksheet
  • Identifying the customers
  • Brainstorming ways to improve the customers’ experiences.

The goal of this workshop is to enhance customer service skills using concepts from The Guest: Everything You Already Knew About Great Customer Service. In the case of schools, the customers or “guests” are students and teachers, and the path to an effective school  nutrition program is to ensure the customers are satisfied. Upon watching The Guest: Everything You Already Knew About Great Customer Service video and discussing the five “Guest Standards,” participants completed a Guest Action Plan, where they proposed a variety of suggestions as to how they can apply these guest standards to their school nutrition program.

JSI Instructor explains the "Guest Standards"

JSI Instructor explains the “Guest Standards”

Guest Standard #1: Welcome the Guests

Suggestion #1: Create a positive, inviting, and comfortable lunchroom environment for the students by playing music in the lunchroom and/or kitchen.

Guest Standard #2: Remember their Names

Suggestion #2: Use students’ names while they are at the register, since names show up on the screens.

Guest Standard #3: Anticipate their Needs

Suggestion #3: Offer samples of new menu items to students the day before it will be offered and get feedback from students.

Guest Standard #4: Thank them and show them your appreciation

Suggestion #4: Tell them to “have a great day!”

Guest Standard #5: Invite them Back

Suggestion #5: Tell the students about tomorrow’s menu and put up a sign with tomorrow’s meal at the students’ eye level at the exit doors of the cafeteria.

If you would like to schedule an Exceptional Customer Service workshop at your school, visit our website to request a JSI Workshop to Go.

Chef Support for a Build-Your-Own Menu at Your School!

Would your staff benefit from working with a chef in the kitchen when offering a new menu item? The John C. Stalker Institute can help! Consider a Live-Setting Culinary Training this school year.

After completing either the Back to Basics: Mediterranean Flavors or NEW! Latin American Cuisine, you can schedule the JSI chef to work alongside school nutrition staff while they prepare and serve a Build-Your-Own menu at your high school.

Build-Your-Own Mediterranean Pita Pocket

Build-Your-Own Mediterranean Pita Pocket

Choose to feature either Mediterranean Pita Pockets or Authentic Latin American Street Tacos. Check out the Build-Your-Own menus!

Build-Your-Own Latin American Street Tacos

Build-Your-Own Latin American Street Tacos

 

 

Request this innovative Live-Setting Culinary Training, where school foodservice teams build their culinary skills during their regular production hours – no need to wait for a professional development day!

Submit your request online at http://johnstalkerinstitute.org/wtg.

Milton Uses FISH! to Find the Fun at Work

On October 17, 2018, school nutrition staff at Milton Public School participated in the Finding the Fun at Work with FISH! Workshop to Go, presented by Karen Alarie, MEd, SNS from The John C. Stalker Institute. This workshop focuses on the goal of building a creative, innovative, and fun workplace culture. This goal can be accomplished using the FISH! philosophy to empower staff and create passion and engagement at work.

The FISH! Philosophy

Through this workshop, the staff learns how to apply the FISH! philosophy while working at their school.

  1. Be there– Smile, make eye contact and acknowledge students as they walk through the lunch line.
  2. Play– Allow for curiosity and creativity in the workplace to create an enjoyable work environment free of judgment.
  3. Make Their Day– Value and recognize other employees and their hard work.
  4. Choose Your Attitude: Choose who you will be that day and be conscious of that choice since your choice affects everyone.

    JSI Instructor holds an activity about the FISH philosophy

    JSI Instructor leads FISH! activity

The Finding the Fun at Work with FISH! Workshop to Go incorporates fun and interactive games, which were enjoyed by the Milton school nutrition staff.

You can read about additional experiences with this workshop here. If you would like to schedule a Finding the Fun at Work with FISH! workshop at your school, visit our website to request a JSI Workshop to Go.