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.

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.

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!

Dover Sherborn Bring Mediterranean Flavors to the Lunchroom

A lunch tray from the Live-Setting Culinary Training at Dover Sherborn Regional Middle and High School filled with a pita pocket, hummus, melon mint salad, mujaddara, tzatziki and other Mediterranean add-ons.

On April 5th, students at Dover Sherborn Regional Middle and High School loaded up their trays with tabbouleh, hummus, shawarma and more as part of a “Build Your Own Pita Pocket” lunch. This special lunch was created through JSI’s first ever Live-Setting Culinary Training, which brings the “Back to Basics: Mediterranean Flavors Workshop to Go” to life. With the help of JSI’s Chef Brendan Gallagher and the phenomenal school nutrition team at Dover Sherborn, the schools were able to take the concepts and Mediterranean recipes from the Workshop to Go and actually prepare them live for all students, across all four lunch periods.

The schools prepared a robust menu packed with so many tastes of the Mediterranean. The menu included chicken shawarma or hummus, Mujaddara (lentils and rice), melon mint salad and the add-ons were baba ganoush, tzatziki, tabbouleh and chopped lettuce, tomato and onion. Although these menu items were new to many students, remarks of “Can we do this more often?” and “Can we have this everyday?” could be heard among all grade levels navigating down the Mediterranean section of the tray line. At the end of the day, the school sold 250 of the Mediterranean lunches out of the typical daily 600 lunches.

Norah, the dietitian at Dover-Sherborn Regional Middle & School preparing samples of tzatziki for the students to try.

Janelle Madden, the Food Service Director at Dover Sherborn Public Schools said, “This was absolutely, no doubt a perfect match for our program. We’re always looking for ideas to make food from scratch.” If there were any leftovers once the lunch periods were over, the team was going to repurpose items like the hummus for the power pack lunches the following day.

To attract students to the Mediterranean menu items, the school posted signage and white boards in front of the doors leading to the kitchen. They also loaded up sample trays of the baba ganoush and tzatziki sauce to have students try the flavors before deciding on their meal choices.

Signage in the lunchroom to promote the Mediterranean menu options for lunch.

The Dover-Sherborn Assistant Cook Kim said, “Kids went in to today with an open mind. If kids have new ideas, we want them to bring them to the table. We’re willing to try them!”

Chef Brendan Gallagher said, “It’s exciting to see the workshop in action with the students and to also hear great feedback from them, that’s even better.” He also shared that this menu, “… brings new energy and excitement to the students and it’s also helpful for the staff to realize kids are more adventurous than they think with food.”

If you want your school to participate in this innovative culinary training, please submit an online request. Completion of the Back to Basics: Mediterranean Flavors workshop is required to host the Live-Setting Culinary Training. A professional development day is not needed because the same Mediterranean recipes are prepared and served in the lunchroom in real-time alongside a JSI chef.

Mediterranean add-ons for the “Build a Pita Pocket” lunch

How the Mediterranean Diet Can Enhance Your School Menu

The Mediterranean Diet was just ranked #1 in the Best Diets Overall category by US News and World Report. With so many unique and popular flavors to add to your school’s menu, you may be considering the possibility of offering Mediterranean cuisine to your school cafeteria.

The popular Mediterranean diet prioritizes fruits, vegetables and whole grains as the core components of each meal. These food items provide important vitamins and minerals that help students’ growing bodies, provide the necessary carbohydrates for long-lasting energy and ensure ample fiber for healthy digestion. Mediterranean cuisine encourages heart-healthy fats, vegetarian sources of protein and fresh herbs and colors that make dishes exciting and flavorful. Overall, the diet promotes a healthy weight for kids and supports proper development.

Although some of the history of the Mediterranean diet is lost with time, it’s origin stems from the Mediterranean basin. This diet has been consumed since ancient times and continues to be a popular choice today. Some countries that are part of the Mediterranean today include Greece, Italy, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Morocco. Although they each have their own cuisines, there are many similarities in ingredients and flavor profiles. Some examples of typical Mediterranean dishes include hummus, baba ganoush, couscous, falafel and kebabs. Herbs such as mint, basil, thyme, parsley and dill are staples in these recipes.

If you are interested in incorporating Mediterranean flavors and dishes in your school lunchroom, JSI is excited to offer two NEW! culinary workshops this school year: Back to Basics: Mediterranean Flavors Workshops to Go and an innovative Live-Setting Culinary Training.

The Back to Basics:  Mediterranean Flavors is a 3-hour hands-on Workshop to Go designed to advance the culinary skills of school nutrition staff while they prepare popular Mediterranean recipes that students will love. Participants explore different Mediterranean tastes that are rich in history and flavor and learn how to incorporate them into various meal components.

JSI’s newest innovative training is the Live-Setting Culinary Training which is open to five schools this school year once they have completed the Back to Basic: Mediterranean Flavors workshop. This workshop requirement is necessary because same Mediterranean recipes are prepared and served in the lunchroom in real-time alongside a JSI chef. No professional development day needed! A pilot of the Live-Setting concept was tested at Milton High School in June 2017 and we are thrilled to expand this opportunity using Mediterranean cuisine.

If you’re interested in scheduling a Back to Basics: Mediterranean Flavors Workshop you can make an online request. For additional resources on the Mediterranean diet, you can visit the JSI resource center.

 

 

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.