Coming in 2020! Back to Basics: Indian Fare

The team of culinary instructors at The John C. Stalker Institute gathered for a test run of the new Back to Basics: Indian Fare Workshop to Go which will be available in early 2020.

JSI Chef Brendan demonstrates key components of new Indian Fare culinary workshop.

JSI Chef Brendan demonstrates key components of new Indian Fare culinary workshop.

Like our other globally-inspired culinary workshops, Indian Fare is designed to spice up your menu with a taste of India and entice your students with a customizable Build-Your-Own Indian dish! This hands-on culinary workshop is designed to advance the culinary skills of school staff and give them the skills and confidence to make delicious recipes, such as tandoori chicken, chana masala, aloo gobi, and much more!

Here is a sneak peek of a few of the new, flavor-filled recipes to be featured in the new Indian Fare workshop.

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Keep an eye out in January for the new professional development brochure which will feature Back to Basics: Indian Fare and other new workshops for 2020! Request a culinary Workshop to Go on the JSI webpage and bring training directly to your staff this school year. Let’s get cooking!

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.”

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!

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.

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.