Back to Basics Recipes Now Available Online!

Build Your Own Stir-Fry Bowl Signage

Build Your Own Stir-Fry Bowl Signage

Livening up school menus has just been made simpler with the addition of our Back to Basics Workshops to Go recipes to the JSI website! These student-approved, globally-inspired recipes are standardized and include nutritionals and meal component information. Each set of recipes creates a customizable meal, including a BYO Stir-Fry bowl, Street Taco and Pita Pocket, that your students will love and will fit into your OVS menu.

Would you staff benefit from an extra boost of confidence and culinary skill building? Request one of our Back to Basics culinary Workshops to Go and your staff will be ready to menu these customizable globally-inspired meals. These recipes can be used to freshen up school menus with peach salsa and a build-your-own street taco with the Back to Basics: Latin Cuisine Workshop to Go, feature student favorites such as vegetable stir-fry and chicken teriyaki with the Back to Basics: Asian Fusion Workshop to Go, or introduce new flavors such as tzatziki or shawarma with the Back to Basics: Mediterranean Flavors Workshop to Go.

To help support staff members in executing the new cuisine learned during the Workshops to Go, JSI also offers a Live-Setting Culinary Training which brings the JSI chef back to your school following one of our Back to Basics workshops to guide school nutrition staff during regular production hours. Find more information about requesting a Workshop to Go at your school.

NEW! Coming in early 2020, Back to Basics: Indian Fare Workshop to Go!

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.”

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!

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.

NEW! Workshops to Go

Back to Basics: Latin American Cuisine: Build-Your-Own Street Tacos

Back to Basics: Latin American Cuisine: Build-Your-Own Street Tacos

Back to Basics: Latin American Cuisine

Minimum of 7 participants/maximum of 14 participants

Cost: $399 for 3-hour culinary workshop. 

Freshen up your Taco Tuesdays with authentic Latin American cuisine! In this hands-on culinary workshop, you will enhance your culinary skills while preparing student favorites, such as fish tacos, fresh salsa, Spanish rice, and more!

Coming in 2019! Asian Fusion Workshop

 

Get the Right Scoop!

Minimum of 15 participants

Cost: $299 for 2-hour workshop

Scoops, ladles, and spoodles… oh my! Discover why and how to use the correct measuring tools for proper portioning to meet the meal pattern as well as the connection between portion control and cost. Recognize the minimum requirements for each of the five food components with extra practice on vegetable subgroups.

The Power Pack- Mediterranean Style

The Power Pack- Mediterranean Style

Bean-A-Licious

Minimum of 7 participants/maximum of 14 participants

Cost: $299 for 2-hour culinary workshop

Explore the culinary versatility of beans in this hands-on culinary workshop featuring student-approved bean recipes. Prepare a variety of popular bean recipes and build Power-Packs that will meet school meal requirements and your students will love!

To bring a workshop to your school, please visit the John Stalker Institute website to request a Workshop To Go!

Dover-Sherborn Gets the Right Scoop

JSI Instructor demonstrates the proper measuring utensils

JSI Instructor demonstrates the proper measuring utensils.

On Wednesday, October 3, 2018, JSI instructor Christanne Harrison presented the Get the Right Scoop Workshop to Go at Dover-Sherborn High School.

This new workshop allows school nutrition staff to discover why and how to use the correct measuring tools for proper portioning to meet the meal pattern, as well as the connection between portion control and cost.

Interactive activities allow the participants to recognize the minimum requirements for each of the five food components with extra practice given to vegetable subgroups. Some of the Making It Count activities are incorporated into the workshop, making it both fun and educational!

Make the Portion Count game from Making It Count

Make the Portion Count game from Making It Count

Enhance your knowledge of school nutrition at this workshop by:

  • Putting your serving size measurement estimation skills to the test
  • Matching meal portion sizes with the appropriate age groups
  • Participating in conversations with colleagues about the categories and subgroups of vegetables

    Vegetable Subgroups

  • Brainstorming the correct vegetable substitutions for a variety of vegetables
  • Reviewing the difference between the minimum daily and weekly requirements for each of the five food components

If you would like to schedule a Get the Right Scoop workshop at your school, visit our website to request a JSI Workshop to Go.

RCCIs Share, Learn, and Network

Nuts & Bolts of School Nutrition Program Agenda

On October 10, 2018, The Nuts and Bolts of School Nutrition Continuation Series offered a session for school nutrition professionals in Residential Child Care Institutions (RCCIs) called “Improving Access for RCCI’s in School Meal Programs.” RCCIs provide non-traditional meal service to accommodate children with varied special needs. This session was designed specifically for RCCI professionals to share, learn and network with others in the state. The session started with an assessment of the needs of the group to understand the challenges and successes experienced by RCCI school nutrition directors.  

Participants were divided into small groups and asked to brainstorm and share the challenges and successes they have faced in their programs. The top three successes identified: 1.) students having positive feedback on the food 2.) healthier eating habits, 3.) improved overall health leading to weight loss and decreased obesity among students. The three major challenges included: 1.) staff training and accountability 2.) food waste and 3.) navigation of the DESE website. Once the challenges were identified, participants conversed, networked, listened, and learned about possible solutions and changes they could implement in their program.

Challenge 1: Staff training is not ongoing and management is not always present. Some staff members incorrectly count meals.

Possible Solutions 1: Encourage all staff members to attend a ServSafe training and offer portion control-related online trainings to new staff such as those offered through Making It Count. Ensure all trainers are able to train direct care employees about meal counting, especially on the weekends.

Challenge 2: There is excessive food waste resulting from food being thrown away by students and food service employees.

Challenge 2: Food Waste

Possible Solutions 2: Provide nutrition education to students and staff about meal planning and portion sizes to help reduce food waste. Take a critical look at how food is seasoned or prepared, the appearance of the food, and what food students are throwing out most often. A possible solution to reduce food waste was shared by one of the participants where students assist in serving and cooking meals behind the line. As a result, these students encourage other students to eat the food they make, which results in less food waste.

Challenge 3: The DESE website, specifically the Document and Reference library, is difficult to navigate.

Possible Solutions 3: Add a search option or categorize the webpage to make it easier to find documents in the online library. Make To-Do lists interactive by providing a direct link to references and forms necessary to complete the paperwork on the lists.

Handouts from this session include: School Meals and RCCIs — Making It Fit and Meal Access and Reimbursement. If you are looking to increase your knowledge about implementing and improving USDA National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program operations, consider participating in a Nuts and Bolts of School Nutrition Continuation Series Program. These sessions are offered online and in person for the 2018 to 2019 school year.

 

What’s Cooking in the JSI Kitchen for 2019?

 

Recipe Testing Veggie Stir-Fry

This colorful and tasty veggie stir-fry is one of the many new recipes we are testing for our new Asian Fusion Culinary Workshop to Go coming in 2019!

In the JSI Kitchen, we are creating Asian Fusion recipes for a new culinary Workshop to Go coming in 2019! Before culinary workshops are offered to Massachusetts schools, recipe testing is conducted in the food lab at FSU. We check to be sure the recipe is accurate, practical, affordable, meets the nutritional requirements and, of course, tastes great!

Purchasing ingredients, prepping, cooking, and tasting new recipes is essential. The qualities and characteristics of each recipe are evaluated for appearance, taste, aroma, texture and overall acceptability. In doing this, recipe changes can be made to spices, herbs, or ingredients in the recipes, which lead to overall recipe improvement and ultimately student-approved recipes.

Stir fry sugar snap peas are prepared on the stove.

Feedback on the recipes is an essential part of the process. The JSI team scores and comments on the appearance, taste, aroma, texture, and acceptability of all the recipes. The favorites in this round of recipe testing included the colorful and tasty vegetable stir fry, crispy tofu, stir fry confetti rice, and the Asian beef strips.

Please visit the John Stalker Institute website to request a culinary workshop. Stay tuned for more information about our new Back to Basics: Asian Fusion Workshop to Go coming in 2019!

JSI Brings Professional Communications to the SNA of MA Chapter Meetings

On Thursday, November 9th, 2017, Keefe Technical High School hosted the SNA of MA Chapter Meeting which featured the newly updated JSI workshop Professional Communications presented by Lynnea Gleason.

Professional communications was designed to strengthen existing skills, navigate through difficult topics, and discover ways to strengthen the communication lines of school nutrition programs.

Key learning objectives include:

  • Identifying effective communication skills for adults and children
  • Practice handling sensitive situations in the work setting
  • Discuss ways to overcome communication barriers

This workshop features many activities to get participants out of their seats and reflecting on these objectives to promote success within their daily operations. Most of our days are spent at work, so having enjoyable relationships and a mutual understanding of one another creates a positive environment and can make the day fly by! Such synergistic productivity not only benefits your fellow employees, but also the children who are getting fed.

Consistency is a key component in school meal programs to control food costs and meet meal requirements. One of the fun and interactive activities, the PB & J sandwich activity, that took place during the workshop showed how messages can be interpreted in many different ways. Even the instructions for making a simple PB & J sandwich require good written communication to properly convey the message the way you want it to be understood. The PB & J activity effectively reinforced the key learning objective and was a hit with the audience!

JSI instructor leads the PB & J activity.

To learn more about about professional communications, visit SNP: Effective Communication for a compilation of links provided in the JSI Resource Center.