When you were a kid in school you probably didn’t give much thought to learning about your future career from lunch ladies-which by the way now includes lunch men and even chefs! And I’d be willing to bet that your school district didn’t have a culinary program either. Times have changed.
This is Culinary Specialist Chef Ron Jones with Esteban Gonzales of the student-driven taco recipe team at Greenville County School District, GCSD.
I recently returned from another stop on the School Nutrition Guru world tour and I’ve got to tell you they just rocked the cafeteria at Mauldin Middle in Upstate South Carolina at Greenville County Schools.
The day started with a visit to GCSD Nutrition offices, where I saw a familiar sight when I walked into Director Joe Urban’s office. He’s a true media wiz and grabs pics and video whenever he can that show the pride he has in this awesome district.
Then we drove to Mauldin Middle to meet the student team that had the winning recipe in the district. I felt fortunate I was able to spend some time with them. From left to right: Hunter Criswell, Esteban Gonzalez, SND Joe Urban, and Michael Harmon.
The first thing the team checked were the conversions to school level preparation of the taco ingredients. As an example, the student design team’s original taco featured red onions pickled in red wine vinegar. The school version switched to white vinegar.
Then the first taste test by the team. They agreed the tacos needed a replacement tortilla and a change was made and tested once more. Then on to the lunch rush!
This is the amazing, energetic Vicki Thompson, Cafeteria Manager at Mauldin Middle. Just ahead of lunch each day she holds a pep rally with her team right before the bell. It’s incredible to watch. She has a constant smile and she and the staff LOVE their students!!
This next part was really cool! Chef Ron grabbed the recipe team members and had them help build a balanced complete tray as it might look when the tacos will be added to the GCSD menu cycle.
Word gets around fast when just one kid says “free tacos!” The open hands below didn’t hear about it until they got to their tables with their trays which they promptly left to come back for a sample.
Why not become a friend and fan of Greenville County Schools Food and Nutrition Services Facebook page? You’ll see trends being set and breakthroughs happening. Just recently GCSD made the top ten list on the Food Research and Action Center’s 2016 Scorecard!! It’s not just about School Lunch, read about #schoolbreakfast too!!
You can also watch a short video about Greenville County SC’s newest addition to their lunch menu.