The Ritz-Carlton brand is synonymous with luxury. Earlier this month, luxury came to school lunch. A team of chefs from the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, led by Executive Chef Thomas Tolxdorf created a lunch to remember for more than 800 students at Nassau District Schools' Fernandina Beach High School.
The event was the first time the district has taken part in the national Chefs Move to Schools Initiative, an extension of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let'sMove campaign. The chefs prepared spaghetti and fresh tomato sauce with the option of Italian turkey sausage; a side of spring vegetables tossed with olive oil and herbs; a fresh green salad; house-made rolls and whole-wheat low-fat oatmeal cookies. While it sounds simple, the whole menu had "the Ritz" spin to it (the flavors, the fresh ingredients and the way the herbs added to the whole dish), according to students.
Chef Tolxdorf has a big interest in using fresh foods, something he has in common with the Nassau District Schools, which received the Florida Healthy School District Silver level honor from the Coordinated School Health Partnership. The district is also a co-sponsor for Florida Action for Healthy Kids.
Allyn Graves, director of school food services for Nassau District Schools, says he hopes to do more with Chefs Move to Schools in the future.
"We're excited about Chef Tolxdorf and his team's interest in partnering with us and preparing such a meal for our students," Graves says. "We look forward to expanding this into more schools next year."