Yes everything with nutrition laws were done with good intention. The problem is the infrastructure. schools do not have cooks. They are staffed with people that open cans and reheat pre cooked food that is of such poor quality and packed with preservatives which makes it so bad kids throw most of it right in the garbage. To keep federal funding for the free and reduced lunches each child must take a complete meal. Once they take it they are free to pitch as much as they want. Our cafeteria custodian tells me at least 50% goes right in the trash as soon as they get out of the food line. It is perplexing to me that we feed our kids such garbage and parents don't fight it.
Anyway, today I met with the administrators and chefs for Bon Appetit who are the food providers for Denison University. Denison is a high end liberal arts college and many wealthy parents send their kids there. The longtime food vendor there was as bad as public school cafeteria food. Parents started saying they wouldn't send their kids there anymore if the food didn't get better. That prompted them to hire Bon Appetit 2.5 years ago. I hit it off with them right away because their chefs and administrators are from around the world and we have much in common. They brought me today tears with their support. Bon Appetit has demonstrated to me over and over that they care with stuff like this and hiring any student I send them at $10/hour. Basically they said they will do whatever they can to help us stay afloat. I told them we are making plenty of money. What we need is work. I brought focaccia bread, french baguettes, sesame seed topped semolina baguettes, and hot dog buns. The 4 chefs are world class and all the administrators have deep culinary backrounds. So I felt like I was on a cooking show as they came up and sampled the goods.
They went nuts on everything and we talked quantities. I could make a ton of stuff for them but lack the ovens/mixers/manpower so we settled on what we can handle. I had so many compliments on the products I got dizzy. Just today at school I tried to give these products away to staff and only 2 took me up on it. One said the focaccia had not flavor and the other said the baguette was stale because the crust was crunchy. I offered about 20 people free and only these two accepted. I can't give my stuff away to the 200 people that work at our school and when I do get takers many complain it is to much this or not enough of that. If I sell 1 loaf a bread a week to the staff that is a big deal and if I get 2 a week to take some for free that is a bigger deal yet Bon Appetit wanted to have me make at least 300 baguette loaves a week
The people I work with are walmart culture. It gets very depressing at times and to be given high praises today from cooks that have worked in top restaurants around the world was something I rarely get out here in food waste land. I brought a pizza too. The ones that ate it said it was the best they ever had and several are natives of NYC and cooked many years there. At school most who buy our pizza say it is cheaper than the cafeteria lunch and that is why they buy it. Many say they buy for price and taste is not a factor. Being raised 15 minutes outside NYC, living in Brussels, Austin, SF, Sonoma County, coming here to OH has been a real trip food wise.
Here is the stuff we came up with that we can do in addition to the organic whole wheat Amish flour bagels we do for Bon Appetit each week. They said to feel it out and if we can do more go for it and if it is too much back off. This amount will fit in nice with our current work load I think and most importantly it will keep my students working a full day which trains them to work a full day in a competitive job.
200 hot dog buns and 16 half sheet pans of focaccia for each delivery, 3 times a week, totaling 600 hot dog buns, and 48 half sheet pans focaccia per week.