Whether it’s a line cook or a school’s nutrition director, school cafeteria personnel can change hands from year to year. This means recipes that are being used one semester might completely change the next because the people who cook them change. And with changes in recipes comes changes in equipment. Oftentimes a school cafeteria will have equipment and supplies that haven’t been used in years. They sit around in storage closets taking up space just waiting to be used.
From one particular district near Minneapolis, Minnesota, that equipment turned out to be a collection of braising pans. Apex sent our corporate chef, Adam Klosterman, to the northwestern suburbs of Minneapolis, and this is what happened:
The schools in the area had collection of underused braising pans. If at all, these pans were being used for more basic processes such as re-therming bagged items or for broiling pasta.
Apex Corporate Chef Adam Klosterman approached the district with some ideas, and he set up training to help the district’s school nutrition personnel. Chef Adam realized the potential in utilizing different technologies and applications to create semi-scratch dishes that meet both regulations and expectations of a typical quick service operation.
“The district had some braising pans they were under utilizing,” Chef Klosterman said. “So I worked with the district dietitian on creating a few recipes that met the guidelines. We had a knife skills course. We cut up all of the fresh produce by hand, then used the braising pan to get comfortable.”
The result was a tasty and healthy version of chicken lo mein that is to be incorporated into the menu cycle next year. Chef Klosterman’s simple, nine-step recipe included a variety of cooking options, and he helped the district utilize the equipment in a more efficient way to elevate the types of dishes their kitchen has the ability to produce. This translated to happier students.
Whether your school year has just started or it’s after Spring Break and you’re looking to make purchasing decisions, make sure you get the expertise you need. Contact Apex today, and we’ll look for ways to help you utilize the equipment you already have, as well as direct you to new equipment that will achieve your school nutrition goals.