Just because it’s summer vacation doesn’t mean cafeteria workers aren’t cooking.
Food service employees with the Warren County School System have been continuing their culinary training and were busy Thursday at WCHS learning new techniques for preparing high-quality food.
“We’re trying to reduce the salt in our cooking and save the flavor,” said school system nutrition director Jean Wix. “We’re trying to promote healthy eating at a time when our society, because of our lifestyle and the convenience of fast food, doesn’t necessarily do so. But our school nutrition program does encourage healthy eating.”
School lunches, for example, require a meat, vegetable, fruit, grain and bread to be served at every meal. Wix said multiple meat and vegetable choices are made available.
“Our job is to serve students nutritious meals to prepare them for learning,” said Wix. “They can’t concentrate on their school work if they’re hungry.”
WCHS nutrition manager Michelle Rackley was one of 20 people selected to attend culinary arts training sponsored by the Tennessee School Nutrition Association. The training was held in May in Murfreesboro.
While at the training, Rackley learned proper knife skills, use of seasonings in food preparation, recipe modifications, and food sanitation. For her efforts, Rackley was recognized at the Tennessee School Nutrition Association conference held earlier this month in Gatlinburg. Ten Warren County school nutrition employees attended the conference.
As part of her culinary training, it’s a requirement for Rackley to train others for a minimum of 10 hours. She was doing just that yesterday as cafeteria workers prepared a meal that included chicken quesadilla, chicken taco soup, baked potato stuffed with broccoli, and roasted carrots.
Morrison school nutrition manager Debra Jo Shinabury has also been honored with a prestigious award. Shinabury has been recognized as the state winner of the Louise Sublette Award, which is considered the highest honor a school nutrition manager can achieve.
The Louise Sublette Award is given to a person who has taken a special idea, developed it into a goal, and used that goal to help the school’s nutrition program grow. For Shinabury, her project was teaching students easy and nutritious meals they can use at home. Through her teaching she emphasized the importance of good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
Shinabury received a plaque and will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the National School Nutrition Association Conference in Kansas City in July. She will be recognized for her success at that conference.