School Meals Rock Nutrition Trends: Florida Chefs Put on “The Ritz”

What’s up next on School Meals That Rock? Trends, trends and more trends! I recently gave presentations in Michigan and Rhode Island on trends in food and nutrition using School Nutrition as examples. Over the next two weeks (or so), we’re going to explore the trends and share photos of school examples. Hope you’ll check in regularly to find out what is rockin’ in school meals!

According to the National Restaurant Association 2013 What’s Hot culinary forecast, Healthful Kids Meals rank number 3 in the Top Ten Trends for 2013 by both American Culinary Federation chefs and fast food operators. Child nutrition also hits the number 5 and 10 spots on the NRA list.

Child Nutrition hits 3 of 10 Top Trends for 2013

Child Nutrition hits 3 of 10 Top Trends for 2013

Thanks to a pilot Chefs Move to Schools program the Nassau County (FL) Schools are hitting multiple trends out of the park with help from Executive Chef Thomas Tolxdorf and his culinary team from The Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island. More than 800 students from Nassau District Schools’ Fernandina Beach High School recently enjoyed a lunch that was healthful, included whole grains, and featured locally grown produce. Some lucky students even got in on the cooking action!

(Left to right) Thomas Tolxdorf, executive chef of The Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island, Amari Forrest, Fernandina Beach High School (FBHS) student, Allyn Graves, director of school food service of Nassau County School Board, Bishop Richards, FBHS student, Laura Perkins, FBHS student, Michael Gass, chef and culinary teacher at FBHS and Glenn Wright, chef at The Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island.

(Left to right) Thomas Tolxdorf, executive chef of The Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island, Amari Forrest, Fernandina Beach High School (FBHS) student, Allyn Graves, director of school food service of Nassau County School Board, Bishop Richards, FBHS student, Laura Perkins, FBHS student, Michael Gass, chef and culinary teacher at FBHS and Glenn Wright, chef at The Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island.

The menu included whole grain pasta with fresh tomato sauce with the option of Italian turkey sausage; a side of fresh spring vegetables tossed with olive oil and herbs, fresh green salad, homemade rolls and whole-wheat low-fat oatmeal cookies. Now, that’s a lunch I would gladly eat myself!

“We are excited about Executive Chef Tolxdorf and his team’s interest in partnering with
us and preparing such a meal for our students. We look forward to expanding this initiative into more schools next year and working directly with our food managers,” said Allyn Graves, director of school food services for Nassau District Schools. Nassau District Schools’ Food Service serves more than 1,600,000 meals and snacks each year – all meeting USDA’s strict nutritional requirements each year. Many meals include fresh produce from local farms in a 150 mile radius of the district. The department has received the prestigious Florida Healthy School District Silver level honor from the Coordinated School Health Partnership and is a cosponsor for Florida Action for Healthy Kids.

Nassau County (FL) Schools Feature Local Produce

Nassau County (FL) Schools feature local produce

Guest Chefs and Student prepare lunch

Guest Chefs and students prepare fresh lunch in Fernandina Beach High School

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