LiveWell School Food Initiative: Thompson School District Trainings
By Janessa Nelsen, Program Coordinator, LiveWell School Food Initiative
Thompson School District – the 17th largest district in Colorado with over 16,000 students enrolled – held a two-day training on August 15 and 16 to kick off its partnership with the LiveWell School Food Initiative. Day one provided the 33 district kitchen managers with trainings in knife skills, the use of immersion blenders for made-from-scratch dressings and sauces, salad bar prep and set-up, and time management. The LiveWell chefs were given the opportunity on day two to engage in discussions and demonstrations on Food Safety & Sanitation and district standards with nearly 100 kitchen employees as a part of Thompson’s mandatory in-service day.
Lisa Kendall, Thompson’s Food & Nutrition Services Director, is leading her team through a plan to provide healthy, delicious meals to every student in the district. Their goals are to acquire new commercial kitchen equipment, provide salad bars in every cafeteria, add scratch-cooked items to their menus, and engage with farm-to-school efforts in the area. LiveWell Chefs Fernando Cardona, Jessica Wright, Rob Mattoch, Chris Hazle, and Shellie Kark will be working closely with Thompson to help bring these goals to life.
“I’m feeling the energy and enthusiasm building!” says Thompson Lead Chef and Coordinator, Sarah Tomsic. “[The kitchen team] is very excited to have partnered with LiveWell and are more than willing to continue making improvements. They have a huge challenge ahead of them but we are happy to be with them along the way.”
LiveWell Chef Jessica Wright returns the enthusiasm for the partnership: “Lisa and Sarah are definitely understanding that change takes time, and they know they need to focus on their goals first. They are a great team and will go far with our assistance and all the other contacts and resources we can bring to the table!”