High School Cafeterias Dish Out Fresh Look

High School Cafeterias Dish Out Fresh Look
Cafeteria Renovations October 10, 2014 – High school cafeterias have undergone substantial renovations in the past few years to better serve healthy options to students in a restaurant-style environment. Tascosa was used as a model for improvements in Amarillo High, Caprock and Palo Duro. All four high school cafeterias not only feature improved food service lines and a more modern décor, they also boast better kitchen layouts and equipment for more from-scratch cooking.

“Some of these changes are simple, but make a huge impact,” Brent Hoover, child nutrition director, said. “It’s more about making the connection with students. It is about the food, and it is about the total experience too. The modern look, the taste, the feel – involving more senses.”

Explaining some of the changes to the kitchens, Hoover says employees are receiving more training to provide more fresh rather than processed food to students. “We’re peeling vegetables, baking breads and making fresh foods in front of our students. We understand how important the presentation is too, so we’re serving out of shallow containers that have a more unique and appealing design rather than out of those deep stainless steel dishes typical of a cafeteria.”

The renovated cafeterias offer a variety of meal lines to choose from, including So Deli Delicious, Pizza Station, Create Exhibition, Grill’d Express, Sono Station and Snack and Coffee Bar Station, enabling high school students to make healthy meal selections from different style cuisine.

“We know if students take something for themselves, it’s more likely they’ll eat it,” Hoover explained. “They can go to a station of their choice, and then go through the ‘extra, extra’ line to finish their meal with vegetables, fruits and salads. The way the food lines are set up now, there is more flexibility for students to change lines so they can make healthy choices based on their taste preferences.”

A favorite addition among staff and students alike, the snack and coffee bar serves everything from homemade cinnamon rolls to freshly blended smoothies and coffee drinks. Open before school and during lunch, the high school snack and coffee bars are a treat for the students who enjoy listening to music and sipping their favorite caffeinated beverage while studying for their next class.

“We have a machine that actually grinds the coffee, they just put the cup in there and press some buttons, and about a minute and a half later you have a cappuccino,” Hoover explained. “They’re telling me this machine is the best of the best. It actually steams the milk and puts the drink together just like a barista has made it.”

In the next couple of months, high school cafeterias will feature restaurant-style dining tables and booths. In the snack and coffee bar area, booths will feature charging stations so students plugged into the Bring Your Own electronic program can charge up both their technology and energy levels before heading back to class.

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