East Grand serves up better food
East Grand School District’s new Food Service Director, Joe Cisneros, is bringing new items to the lunch menu, as well trying to develop new food programs that would benefit students and parents.
Cisneros has 40 years of experience in the food service industry.
“I have a degree in Food Service Management, and my years of experience in all facets of Food Service serve me well in being the director,” said Cisneros.
Before accepting the position as director, Cisneros worked at the YMCA of the Rockies at Snow Mountain Ranch as an assistant chef.
“It was a hard decision to leave the YMCA because I was enrolled in a new management program. However, the position for East Grand was one I had applied for before and I felt now was the right time,” said Cisneros. “I have found the position … to be both challenging and rewarding.”
Now, Cisneros is responsible for “providing leadership, training and support to his staff in meeting the goals of the department” and providing “quality nutritious meals for staff, students and guests.”
Cisneros and the staff plan to “get more of the general student population to participate … and get the word out to families that are eligible for the free and reduced meals.”
The schools are trying to head in the direction of “cooking more from scratch” and including fresh fruits and vegetables in all meals. They have added homemade soups to the menus, which has been successful. They also want to bring more variety to the lunch menus. New menu items include chicken gumbo, beef stroganoff, and sweet and sour pork.
The kitchen staff has expanded the a la cart Canteen at the high school and providing “hot grab and go” service as well.
“Along with our kitchen manager, Regina Quinn, we continue to work on innovative ideas to improve menus and service,” said Cisneros.
In order to encourage more students to eat healthier food, the schools wish to implement programs in which students can eat breakfast at free or reduced prices. They also plan to add a salad bar at the high school.
Also, based on parental input “concerning the filling of our landfills and students learning proper etiquette in using silverware,” the schools are thinking about going back to using real silverware.
“Through the efforts of Kathy Kopp and grants she has written, we have been able to purchase much needed tools and equipment to increase productivity and efficiency of our staff,” said Cisneros. “We were able to do in-service food service training days prior to opening for the school year, and we have the ability to spend some time putting data into Nutrikids Lunchbyte systems.”
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