“I hate to overuse the word ‘unprecedented,’” says Executive Chef Matt Poling. “But this is unprecedented.”
By early August, Poling, Director Danielle Bock, Assistant Director Kara Sample and the rest of the foodservice team at Greeley-Evens Weld Co. School District 6 were feeling overwhelmed, to put it mildly. With so much uncertainty in terms of what back to school will look like during a pandemic, planning school lunches and breakfasts came with a whole new agonizing set of challenges this year.
In terms of menu planning for the upcoming school year, “we were way behind,” Poling says. “Normally in our world, we’d be forecasting with our distributors back in May. We’d be ordering and we’d be all set.”
For school foodservice pros like Poling, who had been at the forefront of speed-scratch cooking for kids, there’s simply no time to mourn the loss of things like build-your-own stations, salad bars with a rainbow of options and customization. The only thing to do is move forward, Poling says. “The drawback is, there’s not as much choice,” he adds.
With normality out the window thanks to COVID, Poling and the team focused on a kid-friendly concept that can hold all the meal requirements (protein, grain and veggie) and incorporate many different flavor profiles: Bowls. Here are three bowl construction ideas (technically still in development), fresh off the drawing board of the district’s kitchens.
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