Culinary Training for Chicago Public Schools Cooks and Dining Managers
December 07, 2010
by Jason Mojica, Regional Chef
Fall is always a busy time for those of us involved with school dining services as we begin a new school season. This year was even busier than usual as we rolled out new menus that meet the gold standard of the HealthierUS School Challenge. This fall, more than 250 CPS cooks and 100 school dining managers took part in a day-long, hands-on culinary training. This training focused on the new nutrition standards and new menus as well as the skills they will need to prepare those menus throughout the school year.
The new student-tested (and approved!) CPS menus use fewer prepared items. Cooks and school dining managers alike learned food production methods and culinary techniques to make great-tasting student meals. Participants were enthusiastic about these new skills as well as the new menu items. Several remarked they hadn’t tasted hummus before – we include hummus in our new Mediterranean sandwich – and they were eager to try making it at home.
We’re excited about the culinary team we have assembled to work with CPS school dining staff to make the new menus a reality all year. Many of our team members have worked as chef instructors and all have lots of hands-on experience, a critical ingredient for success in the school dining business. The culinary team will work with the school dining staff throughout the school year, helping cooks and managers hone their skills and present the healthy, great-tasting new school food.