1572931352 <![CDATA[Blog]]> http://athens.sierrabravo.net/~nguillou/f3/caf/ en Chef Ann Foundation Copyright 2019 2019-10-28T02:54:00+00:00 <![CDATA[Featured Salad Bar Program: El Monte City School District]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/featured-salad-bar-program-el-monte-city-school-district/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/featured-salad-bar-program-el-monte-city-school-district/#When:18:38:00Z This blog has been republished with the permission of Salad Bars to Schools.

We recently caught up with Robert Lewis, Food Service Director for El Monte City School District in California. Lewis applied for the Salad Bars to Schools grant in 2017, and this is the second year that all 14 schools have used the bars. Here, he shares some insights about operating his district's salad bar program.

District Preparation

How did you prepare your district to receive and begin implementing salad bars? 

Before we received our salad bars, we trained all of our employees on appropriate stocking protocols, how to cut up fresh fruit and vegetables, and the overall appearance of the salad bar. 

Did your staff need additional support? 

No, at El Monte City Schools, our staff are all trained cooks with ServSafe certifications. We did allot three additional labor hours for each one of the schools to fully incorporate the salad bars. This necessitated a new position at each site, ultimately creating 14 new jobs within our community. 

How did you prepare your students for their first day using the salad bar? 

Principals took on the responsibility of talking to students about how to go through the salad bar line. They explained how the salad bar is not a fast process, students should take their time. They can choose what they want but they need to be sure to eat what they choose. Every one of our schools also did a mock walkthrough with the salad bars before the full implementation day to get students and teachers used to the flow. 

Overcoming Challenges

Do you have any advice for new Salad Bar recipients on how to manage excess food waste? 

My advice is to stock the salad bar a lot at the beginning of the week with 8 or 9 choices, then you use the leftovers as the week goes on so that there are no leftovers for the weekend. Throughout the week we monitor what kids like and don’t like, to see what's leftover and take that into consideration for future orders. I also rely on my production records to manage waste and track popular options.

Did you experience increased food costs? If so how did it impact your program?

Running our salad bar program has only temporarily increased our overall food cost. We are able to get most of our fresh produce through our USDA Commodity Dollars, which helps us save money. Knowing how to rework our commodity dollars is crucial. In January, I will be shifting our percentages away from spending those dollars on frozen fruits and vegetables to fresh options. Our program is really rocking now, so I will be putting more of my USDA Commodity Dollars towards fresh items for the salad bars.

How has your labor changed, if at all? 

The only change we have had to make is the addition of a few more hours to our delivery driver's workday. We prefer to take the salad bar supplies out separately so that we maximize freshness. Ultimately it hasn’t been a lot of hours but we have had to add a few. 

Are there any other program successes you would like to share?

Some of our schools celebrate when all of their students have perfect attendance. On these academic achievement days, I’ve asked the principals to let me plan the food, and make it a special lunch. We will usually have a big outdoor barbeque and I get out the salad bar as a feature for the special day. It’s a great way to work with the principals to get kids interested in eating healthy. On these days we see great participation, usually around 97 percent! 

It's also been amazing to see the little kids in kindergarten come through the salad bar. They say it's just like when they go out to eat, like going out to a restaurant. Overall, we have seen our participation increase and kids are eating healthy, so it’s really a win-win situation all around! 

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http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/featured-salad-bar-program-el-monte-city-school-district/#disqus_thread 2019-11-04T18:38:00+00:00
<![CDATA[Q&A with Chef Mihoko Obunai]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/qa-with-chef-mihoko-obunai/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/qa-with-chef-mihoko-obunai/#When:02:54:00Z As a school chef in our first national Real School Food Challenge, Chef Mihoko Obunai has a unique take on what makes good restaurant cuisine and good food in school. Learn how she became the head of Midtown International School's culinary program and took on the Challenge with her Japanese curry.

UPDATE: Chef Mihoko competed as a finalist and WON the first ever Real School Food Challenge: National Restaurant Edition on Monday, October 28th as part of StarChefs 14th Annual International Congress. Check out our Press Center to learn more about the competition!

What inspired you to get involved with school food?

My career has been as a professional chef, working in fine dining restaurants and casual restaurants. Being a chef and a woman in the kitchen, it’s a very tough job. I really enjoyed being in the restaurant business, but I felt like I didn’t want to just feed people who came to the restaurant, worry about my revenues and sales and food critics and if I could get a good review. 

It wasn’t until my children told me their school should provide better food that I went one day and really, I was kind of shocked. Students were grabbing trays, drinking chocolate milk and dumping everything in the garbage can. I thought, maybe if I can be a school chef, I can start something where people are going to respect me and what I do. I wanted to be more involved in something for the future. 

What about the Real School Food Challenge sparked your interest?

I go to StarChefs International Congress every year. I spent time in NYC for culinary school and working in different restaurants, so I always like going back to New York because I feel like I’m going back to my second hometown.

This year, I got an email from StarChefs that they were hosting the Chef Ann Foundation’s National Real School Food Challenge this year, and I thought, This must be a dream!

What inspired your Real School Food dish?

It’s a Japanese chicken curry. People say sushi, tempura, teriyaki chicken (when they think of Japanese food). But chicken curry is one of the Japanese traditional homemade foods. Every house makes it, and this is a very traditional school lunch menu item. It’s different from the traditional Indian dish; we kind of adjusted it to the Japanese way.

What’s the biggest challenge about leading the culinary program at Midtown International Schools? What have you implemented since starting there?

I had complaints from kids in the beginning saying, “I want a burger, I want pizza.” For them, things were comfortable and all of a sudden a chef comes and changes everything. I started putting in a salad bar, and I don’t use any kind of preservatives. I make everything from scratch. I told everybody in the school, “You hired me for a reason—because you wanted change.”

I focus on not wasting, and composting and recycling as much as possible within my menu. For example, I started "Meatless Monday" and "Zero Waste Wednesday." On Mondays I serve a vegetable-based menu only and encourage students to eat more local seasonal vegetables. On Wednesdays, I use all parts of animals and produce, like "Pork Carnitas" (I get local pork shoulder and braise it overnight). Lastly, all our utensils, bowls, cups and trays are compostable and earth friendly.

Why should the average person care about school food in America?

School meals are important because it’s like education for children on how to eat, and then when they grow up they know how to cook and eat well. Eating school meals, it’s culture, it’s education—it’s part of your body needing fuel.

What are your hopes for the future of school food?

I think it’s going to take time to change, but I would like to see fresh produce—not canned—and less fried foods like French fries and chicken nuggets. I don’t want to see anything where you can’t see the animal’s shape.

I want more local chefs involved in the school system. Many young chefs want to get famous and be on TV and get better food critiques. But children are the future and we need to support that.

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http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/qa-with-chef-mihoko-obunai/#disqus_thread 2019-10-28T02:54:00+00:00
<![CDATA[Dress It Fresh: Plant-Based Dressing Recipes to Inspire Healthy Eating]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/dress-it-fresh-plant-based-dressing-recipes-to-inspire-healthy-eating/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/dress-it-fresh-plant-based-dressing-recipes-to-inspire-healthy-eating/#When:18:20:00Z

Freshen up your salad bar with plant-based recipes! Just in time for the new school year, these recipes offer great options for scratch-made salad dressings.

Over 30 million children eat school lunch every day, which means that making responsible choices in school food creates a sizeable and lasting impact. Chef Ann Foundation (CAF) recently partnered with Danone North America to create made-from-scratch dressings using Silk milks (soy and coconut milk) that are simple, wholesome, and kid-approved. These recipes offer schools a creative way to integrate plant-based and plant-forward recipes into their school food menus—nourishing for both kids and the planet.

Why Plant-Based?

We crafted these Silk dressing recipes as part of CAF’s Plant Forward Initiative. Plant-based and plant-forward recipes enable schools to make a positive environmental impact through school lunch offerings while teaching students the benefits of making plant-forward meal choices in and out of school. And since schools serve such a large population, serving plant-based and plant-forward meals and recipes is beneficial to both student health and the environment.

Below are the final tried-and-tested recipes:

(Click any recipe name to check it out, or view all dressing recipes by clicking here.)

Each recipe was tested in a school production kitchen, taste-tested and approved by students, and is currently featured on The Lunch Box, complete with nutritional and cost analysis, and USDA meal compliance.

For more information on why plants are healthier for our bodies, our planet, and our school food operations, click here.

Open Call For Entries

Are you using plant-forward or plant-based recipes in your school district’s menu cycle? We want to hear from you!

Every entrant will receive a scholarship to one of two School Food Institute online courses, Plant Forward or Salad Bars in Schools,* which meet USDA Professional Development requirements. Selected responses will be included in a summarized impact story on the More Plants Please section of The Lunch Box website, CAF’s national online database for school food change. 

We hope these recipes will be a great starting point for districts interested in adding more healthy, plant-forward recipes to their school food programs. By using non-dairy milks as a base for scratch-made dressings, we can encourage schools towards the Plant Forward continuum and explore new ways to incorporate more plant-forward recipes for kids.

Many thanks to recipe sponsor Danone North America. As the largest certified B Corp dedicated to mission-based initiatives, Danone’s commitment to making delicious food that is good for you and good for the environment supports ingredient variety in a healthy, scratch-cook school food operation. The Chef Ann Foundation continues to support healthier school food for every child, every day through innovative recipes and forward-thinking initiatives. For access to 350+ free school food recipes, click here.

* = entries will receive a single course scholarship, while supplies last

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http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/dress-it-fresh-plant-based-dressing-recipes-to-inspire-healthy-eating/#disqus_thread 2019-09-28T18:20:00+00:00
<![CDATA[NEW! Spanish Subtitles for School Food Institute Courses]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/new-spanish-subtitles-for-school-food-institute-courses/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/new-spanish-subtitles-for-school-food-institute-courses/#When:19:04:00Z Spanish translations for all SFI courses open new doors for learning

The School Food Institute (SFI) is excited to launch Spanish subtitles for all online courses. When we began developing SFI in 2017, we knew we wanted to offer Spanish options—and they’re finally here! Thank you to The Colorado Health Foundation for making this timely initiative possible.

Why Spanish?

As of 2015, the United States is now home to the largest Spanish-speaking population outside of Mexico. Because Spanish is also the second most commonly spoken language in the US, it is crucial that SFI courses are accessible to audiences of varying Spanish and English fluencies. Spanish subtitles will help to bridge language gaps in schools, lunchrooms and kitchens by providing a resource that meets the needs of Spanish speakers, English speakers and everyone in between.

Making the transition to scratch cooking is a process - one that comes with highs and lows. By making the operational content covered in SFI courses accessible to more people, schools will have fewer barriers for making the shift from heat-and-serve meals to scratch cooking. We hope that Spanish translations will facilitate clearer communication and deeper discussions between school food service professionals, school administrators, parents and other community members. Spanish translations for SFI courses are a crucial step towards healthier school meals. 

How It Works

Students can easily toggle between English and Spanish subtitles while watching lectures. A full Spanish transcript is also available within each video.

The ability to switch between Spanish and English benefit all audiences: students can take the courses in their native language while also learning useful new terms and phrases in another language. To learn more about the impact of these new subtitles, head over to The Lunch Line to read a blog post from our translator, Daniela Ochoa Gonzalez.

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http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/new-spanish-subtitles-for-school-food-institute-courses/#disqus_thread 2019-09-13T19:04:00+00:00
<![CDATA[Make Big Changes to the School Food in Your District]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/make-big-changes-to-the-school-food-in-your-district/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/make-big-changes-to-the-school-food-in-your-district/#When:21:49:00Z How one grant program can support where you are, and where you want to go

By Georgina Rupp

To celebrate the 2019 Get Schools Cooking grant application opening, we spoke with Pamela Lee (Ocean View School District Director 2014-2019) about her experience as part of the 2017 cohort. We’re accepting grant applications until October 28th—click here for more info.

“Support is always just an email away,” says Pamela Lee, former Director of Nutrition Services at Ocean View School District in California.

Our most in-depth program, Get Schools Cooking (GSC) provides school districts with the operational knowledge to transition from a heat and serve or processed models to scratch cooking. Through GSC, food service teams are guided through a three-year program customized to meet the district’s current needs and goals for the future.

For Lee, GSC offered the support she needed to start implementing healthier food at Ocean View.  “I really needed guidance and direction, and they got me going,” she explained.

The Beginning

Lee began following Chef Ann’s work in Berkeley in the early 2000s, so she knew GSC would be a good fit. Lee worked with Ocean View School District for two years before partnering with the Chef Ann Foundation, and found that GSC was crucial for implementing organization systems into the Nutrition Services department.

“[GSC] really helped me get some systems down,” Lee said, referencing spreadsheets that tracked income, revenue expenses, and meals per labor hour.

These tools were really eye-opening for Lee. “Looking at our costs to see what we’re bringing in and seeing how we can close gaps or [cut] back on expenses—this piece was crucial.”

On-site Visit & Key Improvements

After a kick-off workshop in Boulder, the GSC program starts with an on-site assessment of districts’ current meal programs to better understand each district’s facilities and current processes.

“I was a little nervous,” Lee admitted. “There were a lot of things that they were asking me that I didn’t really know the answers to…  But that’s how they figure out what to focus on and what to improve, because they are so thorough.”

Inventory, a large lift for any district, was identified as a key area for support for Ocean View.

“I would take inventory because I knew that we should be taking it, but I wasn't doing anything with that number,” Lee explained. “During the program, I took that figure and input it into a spreadsheet to see how many dollars we had caught up in revenue each month. We worked to spend that down.” The value of inventory management and financial tracking tools supported Lee and her goal to get the district’s food service budget in the black—no easy task!

Additional efforts focused on reducing waste, increasing breakfast participation, and rebalancing staff load. The district was also able to use their Systems Assistance Grant funds from the program to purchase new service lines, food processors and milk coolers. The service lines have allowed the district to keep food at the proper temperature while at the same time making it more attractive and appealing for students. In addition, Ocean View has been able to purchase more whole, raw vegetables without increasing staff time due to the efficiencies of the new food processors. The milk coolers have also increased efficiencies by decreasing the number of milk deliveries needed.

The program and deep dive into her staffing structure allowed Lee to see that the district could switch to reusable trays. Previously, the kitchen staff had often relied on styrofoam trays when the team was down a person, but Lee realized the staff still had enough time to use the reusable trays and wash them.

For the Future

For those considering GSC, Lee’s advice is simple: Be transparent.

“It’s a very big job being a Nutrition Services Director,” Lee noted. “But Get Schools Cooking will find things that need to be fixed and give you the tools and strategies to help you fix them. They’re there to help you and come up with a plan.”

Get Schools Cooking is currently accepting applications for our 2019 cohort! Click here to read more about the application process and program details. We’re also hosting a free informational webinar on September 12th—click here to learn more and register.


Georgina Rupp is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado. Inspired to pursue writing by her appreciation for the community that gathers around good food, she comes to the Chef Ann team after three years teaching in public education. When she wasn't in the classroom, she spent her afternoons in the cafeteria kitchen alongside students who gained joy and inspiration from cooking nutritious meals. Georgina received her B.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins University.

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http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/make-big-changes-to-the-school-food-in-your-district/#disqus_thread 2019-09-09T21:49:00+00:00
<![CDATA[We’re hiring!]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/were-hiring/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/were-hiring/#When:16:25:00Z

The Chef Ann Foundation is looking for a Director of Development & Strategic Partnerships to join our team of dedicated professionals.

Learn more and apply by clicking on the following link:

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http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/were-hiring/#disqus_thread 2019-09-02T16:25:00+00:00
<![CDATA[Get Schools Cooking application open!]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/get-schools-cooking-application-open-1/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/get-schools-cooking-application-open-1/#When:21:52:00Z Apply now for this 3-year intensive grant program to transition to scratch cooking

With rising rates of childhood obesity and recent nutrition rollbacks to the National School Lunch Program, the need for a positive shift in school food and children’s health is more important than ever. Through our largest grant program, Get Schools Cooking, the Chef Ann Foundation (CAF), in partnership with Whole Kids Foundation, is dedicated to supporting healthier school food by guiding districts through the process of implementing a scratch-cook operation. 

Why Scratch Cooking?

Scratch cooking—the practice of cooking with basic, whole ingredients like fresh fruits and vegetables—is a powerful tool for schools to move back to basics and provide children with nutrient-dense meals. With 30 million children eating school lunch every day, scratch cooking is an important movement in ensuring today’s youth get the nourishment they need and deserve.

A recent study from the National Institutes of Health found ultra-processed foods (with ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils) cause people to eat more calories and gain more weight than minimally processed or whole foods. In addition, a 2014 study published in the Journal of American Nutrition and Dietetics examined the impacts of switching to scratch-cook operations and found that, although labor costs rise, they are offset by lower food costs. Therefore, schools have the opportunity to positively influence the health of our nation’s children and transform their food programs—but they need the support to do so. 

Grant Details

After three years of success supporting 15 school districts, Get Schools Cooking (GSC) applications opened again on August 19th to support districts transitioning to scratch cooking. Applications will remain open through October 28th, 2019. 

“This is our most comprehensive grant, an incredible opportunity for districts to work with school food experts to transition to scratch cooking,” said Mara Fleishman, CEO of the Chef Ann Foundation. “If your district is serious about wanting to move towards scratch cooking, this grant provides the hands-on support and partnership you need.”

The GSC program kicks off with a workshop in Boulder, CO, followed by an on-site operational assessment; strategic planning; a $35,000 systems grant to cover items such as equipment, staff training, and data solutions; and continued technical support to implement the strategic plan. The grant is valued at up to $267,000 per district. 

School food experts visit and assess each school district and their sites to provide customized recommendations and strategic plans across five key areas of school food operations: food, finance, facilities, human resources, and marketing. Each goal within these key areas supports districts operating a scratch-cook meal program. 

“What our kids eat at school matters! We understand that moving from processed food to scratch cooking takes a deep commitment,” said Kim Herrington, Programs and Finance Director of Whole Kids Foundation, “and making that change has enormous benefits for students’ health, their achievement, and the environment.”

For the 2019 cohort, CAF will continue its partnership with the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition to evaluate each district's progress in meeting their goals and addressing the recommendations from their assessment. 

Economic Benefits & Local Procurement

Recognizing the economic benefits to scratch cooking, more states are proposing legislation that rewards schools for local food purchases, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is on board. The agency recently announced more than $9 million in USDA Farm to School Program grants “that will increase the amount of healthy, local foods served in schools and create economic opportunities for nearby farmers.”

While policies such as this are moving in the right direction, they overlook the fact that schools need to scratch-cook to take advantage of the local procurement incentives. Schools running heat-and-serve operations with frozen and processed food have limited opportunities to purchase from local farm producers.

Not only does scratch cooking present an economic benefit to the local economy, it offers advantages for school meal programs as well. According to a 2016 report from the Pew Charitable Trusts, school food directors report steady or increased participation in school lunch programs and stable or rising revenue after implementing more scratch cooking. 

With the help of GSC, districts can get on track to transition to scratch-cook operations to reap the benefits: healthier students with full bellies who are ready to learn, a stronger local economy, and a future of healthy eaters.

“I can’t explain how informative, beneficial, and invigorating this whole experience has been,” says Amber Watson, Nutrition Services Director for Marysville Joint Unified, a 2018 cohort district. “It’s really made me a better director and leader and I can see my staff are happy with the changes I’ve put into place thus far.”

To learn more about the program, visit the Get Schools Cooking webpage and register for an informational webinar on September 12 with CAF Director of Programs Emily Gallivan, Chef Beth Collins, and Amber Watson. They’ll discuss program components, the assessment process, and highlight the changes one district has made as a result of the program.

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http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/get-schools-cooking-application-open-1/#disqus_thread 2019-08-27T21:52:00+00:00
<![CDATA[A Summer at the Chef Ann Foundation: What One Intern Learned]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/a-summer-at-the-chef-ann-foundation-what-one-intern-learned/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/a-summer-at-the-chef-ann-foundation-what-one-intern-learned/#When:22:34:00Z Ally Roberts spent 12 weeks at the Chef Ann Foundation this summer. Learn why she chose to be a School Food Reform Intern and what she learned during her stay.

(Left) Ally Roberts, CAF's School Food Reform Intern, giving a presentation on her summer 2019 internship at CU's Public Interest Internship Experience dinner.

By Allison Roberts, School Food Reform Intern, Summer 2019

Growing up, I remember food made me feel lethargic, bloated, and anything but energized. Following the summer of my sophomore year of high school, I discovered a slew of food allergies and sensitivities that, once I took into account (in conjunction with eating healthier, whole foods), transformed both my physical and mental health. This realization of the stark correlation between physical and mental health fueled my decision to study Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder. When I learned about the Chef Ann Foundation (CAF) through CU’s Public Interest Internship Experience (PIIE) program, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to explore the nonprofit world, learn the intricacies of school food, and gain a deeper understanding of the undeniable impact food can have on the minds and bodies of children.

I quickly learned that the school food world is complex, multifaceted, and also a really exciting place for innovation and positive change. Through programs like Get Schools Cooking, Salad Bars to Schools, and the School Food Institute, CAF sits in a unique niche area of school food reform, with a focus on working with food service directors and staff to implement sustainable changes to their procurement practices, finances, marketing, and more—all to provide kids with access to healthier, scratch-cooked food.

Throughout my role as the School Food Reform Intern, I hoped to challenge myself and learn as much as possible about the nonprofit sector and more specifically the Chef Ann Foundation. With a group of passionate, unyielding, caring, and driven co-workers, it was easy to dive in to projects and help out in any way I could. To highlight a few specific experiences: it was incredibly rewarding to help integrate Spanish subtitles into our current School Food Institute online courses, as this will be a huge step in increasing accessibility for school food workers who speak Spanish. Additionally, my work with the development team on our Real School Food Challenge event not only taught me valuable skills in outreach and event logistics, but showed me the power of generosity and how communal support is integral to deep-seated change. Outside the office, I had the privilege of sitting in on our board meeting at the Google campus, attending a conference on Youth Health Policy and Wellness, learning more about Slow Food, and spreading the word about CAF at the Colorado School Nutrition Association conference. 

Without the support of the CU PIIE program, and the incredible people working at CAF, such a transformative, growth-filled and unique experience would not have been possible. After 12 weeks at the Chef Ann Foundation, the correlation I see between child nutrition, child health, and performance in school has been further solidified. When children eat calorie-dense, yet nutrient-deficient meals, their concentration, grades, and mood are all compromised. It is imperative to have organizations like the Chef Ann Foundation to lay the foundational groundwork for better school food practices. This summer allowed me to see the complexities of school food and both how far we have come and how far we still have to go. Here's to healthier minds and bodies for children!


Ally Roberts is a former intern for the Chef Ann Foundation, and a current undergraduate student at CU Boulder studying Neuroscience. Her internship was supported by the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation.

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http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/a-summer-at-the-chef-ann-foundation-what-one-intern-learned/#disqus_thread 2019-08-25T22:34:00+00:00
<![CDATA[Subtitles offer new language tools for school food professionals]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/subtitles-will-offer-new-language-tools-for-school-food-professionals/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/subtitles-will-offer-new-language-tools-for-school-food-professionals/#When:20:07:00Z All online courses at the School Food Institute now feature Spanish subtitles! Hear from our translator on the importance of bridging potential language barriers in the kitchen.

By Daniela Ochoa Gonzalez 

The School Food Institute now features Spanish subtitles for all 11 courses! We’re excited to expand access to the healthy school food movement. To celebrate, we asked our translator, Daniela Ochoa Gonzalez, to share her views on the importance of translation and offer her insights as a native Spanish speaker who is passionate about school food in America.

Food, as for all of us, has been a part of my life since the very beginning—through its flavors, textures, and origins, but mostly in food loops and systems. Following grad school, I was fascinated by the mystery of our soil, how it nourishes us and our relationship to it, in every bite and everything we discard.

In 2013, I plunged into the school food universe. I visited 100+ schools in the central Texas area, praising best practices and motivating kitchen staff to go the extra mile to sort and compost organic waste in back of the house. I saw firsthand the outrageous food and milk waste in front of the house, and my passion for sustainability in the lunchroom soared.

Since I entered a stage of devoted motherhood in 2015, those exhilarating days in school cafeterias have been left behind. I started to limit my work to strategic translations performed during late-night hours or nap times while our little nest is peaceful and quiet. I wanted to devote these precious hours to worthy causes, and fortunately was gifted the opportunities to translate for sustainable agriculture organizations and, most recently, the Chef Ann Foundation.  

The Chef Ann Foundation is making strides to help remove the language barriers among school food service staff through these newly subtitled School Food Institute courses. Translating these 11 instructional videos for the School Food Institute has been a true honor. Providing Spanish subtitles, to me, is being mindful of a Spanish-speaking individuals’ most embedded way of perceiving the world.   

Whether your native language is English, Spanish, or both, these Spanish subtitles will help present new concepts as you define your mission and vision, design your strategic plan, tailor and sharpen your marketing and leverage the commitment of all your staff and student base.

If you are a native English speaker trying to learn, improve, or polish your Spanish fluency, these subtitles will help advance your goals. You will be able to learn verbs and terminology specific to the school food industry that will become handy with your coworkers while implementing your daily operations.

If you are a native Spanish speaker (like me), carving out time from your busy schedule to devote to one of these incredible courses, you will cherish the comfort of being able to focus on your online class while enjoying it in Spanish. If you are also trying to improve your English skills, I recommend playing the courses once just focusing on the content of the course (reading straight from the subtitles) and then a second time paying close attention to the instructor’s voices and words simultaneously. 

My hope is that this translation further advances the success of Chef Ann Foundation and that they expand all ESL (English as a Second Language) Spanish speakers’ vocabulary and terminology, boosting their confidence to boldly share each of these concepts. A few Spanish words and terms shared authentically—and with the right amount of enthusiasm—can become the edge needed to motivate your staff to shift and take the necessary steps to transition to scratch cooking.

These new translations unfold a wide array of possibilities for any school food operations team, all with the greater goal of improving school food for children everywhere.

To learn more about Spanish translations and how to access them, click here.

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http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/subtitles-will-offer-new-language-tools-for-school-food-professionals/#disqus_thread 2019-07-23T20:07:00+00:00
<![CDATA[4 Common Salad Bar Implementation Challenges, and How to Overcome Them]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/4-common-salad-bar-implementation-challenges-and-how-to-overcome-them/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/4-common-salad-bar-implementation-challenges-and-how-to-overcome-them/#When:19:42:00Z We took a look at 5 years of evaluations to determine the most common challenges reported by salad bar grantees, along with resources to help districts overcome them.

This blog has been republished with the permission of Salad Bars to Schools.

Twice a year, the Salad Bars to Schools program runs an evaluation report where grantees report back on their successes, share statistical and numerical increases and discuss some of the challenges that they have experienced. While 96% of districts reported that their salad bars are still in use, we have looked at all of our evaluations over the past 5 years and identified the four most common challenges salad bar recipients have reported. We then compiled them here alongside resources to help all districts overcome these common challenges.  

“Our biggest challenge is planning the right quantities of food. How do we provide a salad bar that still looks bountiful at the last serving line without an excessive amount of food waste?”

We understand the challenges of projecting the exact volume you will need of each ingredient on the salad bar, but forecasting your purchases is possible! Once you successfully navigate your first year of salad bar implementation, you will then have historical data to base your future purchases on. Tips from our experts: 

  • Analyze your purchases, commodity, and DoD records to establish how much volume in your current lunch menus are attributable to fruit and vegetables in your current cycles.
  • If you have them, you can export your digital production records to see the current fruit and vegetables served at each meal period, align those numbers with your purchase and commodity history to get an accurate estimate of current volume served.
  • If you don’t have digital production records, you can use a large sample of paper records to manually calculate a percentage of fruit and vegetables served. This percentage can then be applied to the volume of purchases made. 
  • If your district is less experienced with fresh fruit and vegetables, head over to The Lunch Box for resources to help you develop a realistic RFP for produce and predetermine salad bar ingredient costs. 

“Our staff was struggling to get all of their fresh produce prepared and on the salad bar before the lunch line started.”

Staff training is an important component to fully prepare before you implement salad bars district-wide. Cafeterias are working within limited labor hours when preparing to implement salad bars, but we have seen a lot of success when foodservice directors can plan to factor training time into the budget.

If your bars arrive before you can schedule training and plan your budget, implementing a salad bar at one site, then using that site as a training location has been an effective way for districts to efficiently train their staff. Some ideas to help plan your training schedule:

  • If your district cannot allocate general fund money to the project, local sponsors and grants are viable options. 
  • A focus on preparation and food handling training will help decrease the time spent on food prep and can mitigate increased labor hour costs. 
  • Create well-articulated methods for ordering, receiving and sanitation before your salad bars arrive. If you cannot provide professional development training for your staff, this will help them understand salad bar protocols, and minimize increase costs that your district might incur through inefficiencies.  

“Identifying whether the student’s plate contains all of the required meal components is a challenge given the format of outlines and the number of students selecting the salad bar.”

Similar to what we identified above, training your students before your bars arriving will help overcome this challenge. Food education is as important as food safety and can help create a healthy learning environment and academic success. We advocate that food service staff encourage students to make their own choices to complete their reimbursable meals. Identifying foods, tasting new fruits and vegetables and creating composed salads that provide blended tastes are all important lessons that can help students develop healthy eating habits.

  • Using signs to illustrate and train students about portion size is a helpful way to help students understand for themselves if their plate meets the reimbursable meal requirements.
  • Menu boards, as well as visual aids, while students are in line, can help remind students before they get to the bars, what the meal requirements are.
  • Cafeteria activities such as Rainbow Days are a great way to engage your students once salad bars are in place, and can help introduce foods they might not be used to eating.

“One of the largest challenges we deal with has been supplementing the budget for the additional cost of the fruits and vegetables.”

It’s important to remember that when adding a new feature to your menu like salad bars, rolling over the prior year’s food expenses as the cost projection for your budget is not accurate enough. If you plan to have your salad bar replace your current fruit and vegetable side costs in your future menu cycles, a reasonable budget is possible and fairly straightforward to project. 

Despite these challenges, salad bars have proven to be an incredibly useful way for districts to incorporate their daily fruit and vegetable requirement while encouraging students to make their own healthy choices and try new things. There is currently a high demand for salad bar grants through Salad Bars to Schools, so getting your application in and working through the resources on The Lunch Box while you wait will help you hit the ground running when your bar is ultimately funded.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help finding a particular resource, or if we didn’t answer your question in this blog. To learn more and submit your application, click here.

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http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/4-common-salad-bar-implementation-challenges-and-how-to-overcome-them/#disqus_thread 2019-07-23T19:42:00+00:00