Professional Development & Networking | July 2023

Growing your network for collaboration and committing time to professional development are essential to growing your programs, continuing to innovate, and delivering the best possible products to your students.

Professional Development & Networking

Serving success through professional development

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Plant-forward takes center-stage at Illinois final keynote

from the editors


Professional Development & Networking As always, we are blown away by our K12 foodservice professionals. The amount of knowledge you can absorb and the incredible passion you have for feeding your students is a joy for us to observe. Joining you and your colleagues at conferences and events over the summer has been the highlight of our year. Our number one passion is people and making sure you are connected to the most innovative products and companies the industry has to offer is second on the list. In these pages you’ll find materials that will encourage both your personal and professional development along with networking recaps and new opportunities to connect.

Serving success through professional development


Institute of Child Nutrition Danielle Barrett, RD

Learning from others: Must Try: Chook. The fast- casual concept by a James- Beard award-winning chef


First look at Ignite! Get a sneak peek into the party of the year!

Served exists to bring industry and operators together - giving everyone a seat at the table, a chance to share in success, and to innovate together for the best products and services for all. We are all our best when we work together to accomplish a big picture goal. Thank you for making us better everyday. ~ Melissa

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Industry News: Life Time Foundation launches groundbreaking solution to support healthier school meals nationwide


Press Release: Life Time, Inc.

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Podcast Spotlight Check-in with your favorite featured podcasts How to Create a Culture of Effective Problem Solving Annelise McAuliffe Soares, Ready Foods


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From our partners

Deeply Rooted, Fork Farms, & River Trails school District 26

4: AmTab Symposium Invite 7: National Peanut Board 10: National Food Group/ ZeeZee’s 25: Create the Experience An event hosted by Nation’s Restaurant News

Bowie State U. partners with plant-based Everything Legendary Fresh Content from Food Management Digizine



Best ever baked Mac & Cheese Bites with Applewhite


ABOUT THE SYMPOSIUM AmTab creates modern, popular, and fun food courts with our award-winning signage, graphics, décor and furniture and designs in schools across the country. Schools are constantly trying to figure out how to

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get more students participating during breakfast and lunch. Learn how you can

Factory Tour One of AmTab’s education partnership managers will take you on a guided tour of our 300,000 sq ft facility. Guests will be able to see first-hand American made furniture, and signage, graphics and décor that has transformed thousands of dining commons across the country. Step into your new food court! Explore an AmTab designed food court and see all the possibilities in designing your space. See a wide variety of food court furniture as well as stunning wall designs that help translate to a spectacular environment that students want to be apart of. Meet with our interior designers and see all that is possible in your food court. We will walk you through the process of designing your space. Signage, Graphics, and Décor play an integral role in creating a fun and exciting atmosphere for your students. Why enhancing your furniture and design is so impactful to your program During this professional development session guests will learn how to generate that “wow” response from students, educators, parents and more. Combining furniture, signage, graphics, and décor will help get more students inside your lunchroom. Learn how to design your space with AmTab AmTab FACTORY TOUR & EDUCATION SESSIONS

transform your cafeteria into a beautiful student food court and earn three CEU's from school nutrition experts presenting at the symposium.

Bensenville, IL



Am I expected to purchase items? That is up to you! Our main goal is to increase awareness and share best practices highly recommended companies to meet your specific needs in a collaborative environment. What should I expect for meals & schedule? AmTab will host a dinner on the evening of the 12th for all guests at a local venue - Lunch on the 12th is also provided by the hosts - both of which are no-cost to attendees.

Who should attend? K12 foodservice decision makers Will I earn CEUs? Yes! CEU certificates will be available on request after the conclusion of the symposium. How is travel covered for the event? Travel costs are taken care of by scholarships with NxtGen Network. All travel arrangements will be made by the NxtGen Network team.

Lauren Couchois Greenville County Schools

More Education Sessions to come

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OCT 7-10 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo Denver, CO OCT 11-12 AmTab Symposium Bensenville, IL OCT 20-21 FSNA Annual Conference Orlando, FL

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Copyright 2023 Served Digizine and NxtGen Network. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part of any text, photograph, or illustration without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. Opinions and advertisements in the magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent management views. The digizine is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts and photographs, or any errors or omissions that might occur.

SUCCESS Serving Professional Development Through

School nutrition professionals play a crucial role in nourishing children and promoting their well-being through nutritious meals. To excel in this important task, investing in professional development is key. In this article, we’ll delve into why professional development matters for school nutrition professionals and why it’s a worthwhile investment.

Professional development offers opportunities for professionals to refine their techniques, explore new recipes, and stay up to date with the latest nutritional trends.Organizations like the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN), USDA’s Team Nutrition, State agencies, and the School Nutrition Association (SNA) provide training programs that empower professionals to

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create nutritious and appealing meals that children will love. Effective management and leadership are vital for the success of school nutrition programs. Professional development provides training in areas such as program accountability, team building, financial management, and culinary skills. By investing in these areas, school nutrition professionals can enhance their abilities, leading to more efficient operations and better outcomes for children. Professional development also ensures program quality and compliance. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 mandates a minimum amount of annual training for various positions within school nutrition programs. This ensures that professionals stay informed about regulations, guidelines, and best practices, ensuring the highest standards of quality and nutritional excellence in their programs. Investing in professional development is not only beneficial for the programs but also for the personal and career growth of professionals themselves. By acquiring new knowledge, skills, and certifications, school nutrition professionals gain confidence and

competence in their roles.This increased job satisfaction translates into lower employee turnover rates, providing stability within the programs and fostering a positive environment for children. In the dynamic field of school nutrition, staying updated with industry trends and best practices is essential. Professional development offers opportunities to attend workshops, conferences, and webinars, enabling professionals to gain insights, network with peers,and exchange ideas.This continuous learning helps professionals stay at the forefront of their field, ensuring they provide the best possible nutrition solutions for children. In conclusion, professional development is a valuable investment for school nutrition professionals. It enhances skills, develops management and leadership competencies, ensures program quality, and fosters job satisfaction. By continually expanding their knowledge and skills, school nutrition professionals contribute to the overall health and well-being of children.Embracing professional development opportunities is a win-win situation, benefiting both professionals and the children they serve.

ICN Professional Development and Training Opportunities:

ICN offers free group training on a broad range of topics for child nutrition professionals working in school nutrition and child care settings as face-to-face and virtual instructor-led trainings. In addition to training sessions at the Institute’s headquarters at The University of Mississippi, training may be requested free-of-charge for presentation at local sites throughout the country.

ICN also offers free online courses. iLearn has a large catalog of courses and recorded webinars dedicated to delivering research-based training to those connected with the School Nutrition, Summer Feeding Programs, and Child and Adult Care Food Programs.

View ICN’s Digital Training Brochure for more information about all of the Professional Development opportunities available from ICN!

Click below to learn more about training opportunities!

Face -to- Face Training

Back -to- School Toolbox

Virtual Group Training


Danielle Barrett is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with over 10 years of experience in adult learning, community nutrition, and public health. She is an Education and Training Specialist with the Institute of Child Nutrition. She is passionate about creating resources to support child nutrition professionals in providing delicious and nutritious meals to children throughout the country. Education and Training Specialist, The Institute of Child Nutrition. Danielle Barrett, RD

Subscribe to ICN Newsletters and Resource Update Emails Here!

The Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN), part of the School of Applied Sciences at The University of Mississippi, is the only federally funded national center dedicated to applied research, education and training, and technical assistance for child nutrition programs. The Institute’s mission is to provide information and services that promote the continuous improvement of child nutrition programs.

ICN Website

New Fun Snacks From

Roasted Chickpeas 1 M/MA or 1/4 cup VEG (legume)

Trail Mix 1 M/MA & 1/2 cup FRT

Half-Popped Popcorn 1 GRN

Diced Apples 1/2 cup FRT

Fava Bean Crisps 2 M/MA or 1/2 cup VEG (legume)

Sour Raisins 1/2 cup FRT



Must Try: Chook The fast-casual concept by a James Beard award-winning chef

If you checked in with Served last month, you’ll remember that we brought you a peek into Lure Fishbar . This month we are excited to share the second installment of content captured from the partnership between Nation’s Restaurant News , and Ventura Foods - The MenuMasters Spotlight Series . In this release of the series they interviewed Chef Alex Seidel, Founder and Chef at CHOOK (pronounced like LOOK or BOOK) in Denver, CO. The NxtGen Network team had the honor of playing a part in the telling this story and it’s a privilege to share the end product with our community. Chook restaurants are only Located in three spots in the Denver, CO area - and I can confidently say that I’m jealous it’s not located in central Indiana. Our experience was so good during filming that we brought several of the NxtGen Network team members back during the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference in early July.

The food is yummy, the mission of the restaurant is an easy one to endorse and support, and Chef Alex is an incredibly down-to-earth family man (with some really great tattoos and even better stories behind them). Next time you are in Denver, be sure to pop into one of their locations for lunch - or grab take-out for your dinner - you won’t be disappointed. Thank you to Nation’s Restaurant News and Ventura Foods for creating this opportunity for us to share insights from the commercial restaurant industry to our educational foodservice community. Stay tuned for more on this series as they continue to release conversations with chefs from around the country.

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Melissa Mayer | NxtGen Network

Life Time Foundation Launches Groundbreaking Solution to Support Healthier School Meals Nationwide INDUSTRY NEWS FOODSERVICE IN EDUCATION TAKES A SEAT AT THE TABLE

Complimentary Green Onion digital resource uniquely helps school food professionals remove unhealthy ingredients

Life Time Foundation, the 501(c)(3) charitable arm of Life Time (NYSE: LTH), today announced

to healthy, delicious meals for all students, the USFA represents 4.2 million students at 6,461

its nationwide launch of a groundbreaking, complimentary digital resource, Green Onion , which is designed to help all school districts, purchasing cooperatives and food distributors analyze their K-12 food products to identify, remove and replace unhealthy ingredients and create positive, sustainable nutritional changes. “Green Onion is one of the most practical, impactful tools for improving school food that I have seen in

schools across 18 districts, including the four largest in the nation: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami. Green Onion offers an easy- to-use, comprehensive solution that informs school food professionals of ingredients of concern highlighted in the Ingredient Guide for Better School Food Purchasing and provides better

“Green Onion is one of the most practical, impactful tools for improving school food that I have seen in my 36-year career in school nutrition.” Katie Wilson, Ph.D.

product alternatives. The software also allows users to make more educated procurement decisions and track their progress towards the elimination of unwanted ingredients. The Ingredient Guide for Better School Food Purchasing is a science-based resource created by school nutrition professionals in partnership

my 36-year career in school nutrition,” said Katie Wilson, Ph.D., Executive Director for the Urban School Food Alliance (USFA), a collaborative of the largest school districts in the United States. Committed to improving the quality of food served in schools and increasing access

with the Center for Science in the Public Interest. It provides resources for school food leaders and manufacturers who are committed to improving the overall nutritional quality and safety of food provided to students, while decreasing barriers for manufacturers interested in removing ingredients of concern from their products. The Life Time Foundation has been a part of this collaborative effort since 2020. “We want all children to live healthier, happier lives and that starts with the food they eat,” said Megan Flynn, MPH, RD Life Time Foundation Nutrition Program Manager.“That’s why we are proud to offer Green Onion free to all school food professionals and support them in their efforts to eliminate ultra- processed foods and refine their menus for the health and wellbeing of the children they serve.” To streamline food product data collection and ensure its accuracy, Life Time Foundation has partnered with 1WorldSync, the largest Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) which simplifies the distribution of accurate, updated and relevant product information into Green Onion. This allows Green Onion to receive real time product data directly from K-12 suppliers, ensuring

reliable information is available to all school food professionals nationwide.

“Because Green Onion is conveniently accessible online, accurate and free to users, it enables every school district – regardless of size – to quickly and efficiently evaluate products in the school marketplace and immediately choose alternatives in favor of products that remove harmful ingredients. This makes it a truly unique and indispensable tool for every school nutrition program across the country,” Dr. Wilson added. School districts and school food professionals interested in creating a free Green Onion account may learn more and get started HERE.

SOURCE Life Time, Inc.

Podcast Spotlight Each edition we’ll bring you the freshest podcast content to boost your programs,

your knowledge, and hopefully your mood. Grab a coffee, wine, or even your walking shoes and listen in.

21 min What’s on the Horizon for School Nutrition?

From local foods to sustainability to recruiting the next generation of school nutrition professionals, what’s coming in the future of school nutrition? SNA President Chris Derico, SNS, of Barbour County (W.Va.) Schools, and Stefanie Giannini, MA, SNS, of Marquardt School District 15 in Illinois, talk about their predictions, as well as the financial challenges of running a successful program, supply chain issues and the increasing role that technology has played in the industry.


Introducing School Food for Thought, the School Nutrition Association’s podcast and your newest source of insights and knowledge about school nutrition, K-12 foodservice and the latest industry trends.

47 min St. Vrain School District - A Home for Innovation

Welcome to the Next Up Podcast! We traveled to Colorado for this episode to meet with Katie Cossette and Theresa Spires at St. Vrain Schools. We spoke about some of the innovative programs they’re implementing in their schools such as, the culinary arts degree students can receive at their Career Elevation Technology Center campus, their upcoming Farm Box program, their student-raised live stock that they process and offer during their school meal program, and more! Listen into this episode to learn exactly why St. Vrain took home the NxtGen Network Ignite 2023 Innovation award, while being inspired along the way!


The Next Up Podcast series is the landing place for those interested in thought leadership. Here you’ll find the podcast versions of our Live talk show, Premier talk show, and stand alone podcasts. We focus on having real, and open conversations with the most inspiration, intellectual, innovative, individuals.

56 min Breaking out of Complacency

For this episode I made the trip to Colorado to meet with my good friend, Shannon Soloman, of Aurora Public Schools . Our conversation included her winning the FES Top Achiever award, it being the first time someone from K-12 won, how and why K-12 operators need to tell their story, and some of the innovative solutions she’s providing her kids including Drive-Throughs! Make sure you buckle up, this is going to be one wild ride!


50 min Peanuts in Schools

The Peanut Podcast, created by the National Peanut Board, delves into issues that are important to peanut growers and the industry. Join NPB staff hosts Lauren Highfill Williams and Lindsay Stevens once a month as they explore hot topics and future trends impacting the industry, including agriculture, sustainability, nutrition, allergies, culture, consumers and more.

PB&Js have been a school lunch staple for generations—and at most schools they still are. The star ingredient, peanut butter, is nutritious, affordable, shelf stable and tasty. But food allergy concerns are a barrier to schools using more peanuts. Tapping into our recent Summer School Nutrition Summit, we’ll discuss the latest trends, what’s on the minds of school nutrition leaders and

how schools can serve peanuts while keeping students with allergies safe. We’ll hear from Amy Carroll of Lee County, FL Schools whose district brought peanut butter back to the menu after almost 20 years, Marlon Gordon of Nxt Gen Network, child nutrition chef Rebecca Polson, Leslie Wagner of Southern Peanut Growers and Texas peanut grower Lexi Floyd.

54 min SFR Podcast with Dominic Mangiove Jr.


The School Food Rocks Podcast is a platform hosted by Joe Urban to discuss important topics with stakeholders from across the country regarding school food, the challenges facing districts, upcoming legislation, and sharing best practices for a positive impact nationwide.

On this episode of the School Food Rocks Podcast Joe Urban & Dom Jr., Vice President of Operations at Atlas Metal dive into the world of serving line equipment and talk about why Atlas Metal is the go-to manufacturer for the K-12 industry.

Jamie Arguello is a force for good in the foodservice industry. CEO of Grady’s Foodservice & Equipment, Jamie is the 2023 Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazine Dealer Top Achiever. A mother of three and cancer survivor, her commitment to “lead with love” has employees who are loyal to her vision to create connections and an industry looking to learn from her leadership, wisdom and heart. Enjoy this conversation with one of our industry’s brightest stars. 50 min Jamie Arguello: Grady’s Foodservice & Equipment


The Foodservice Powerplant Podcast brings the stories and insights of industry leaders to anyone in foodservice looking to grow their personal and professional lives. We talk mental health, habits, challenges we’ve overcome that have showed us our strength so that we might incorporate their wisdom into our own lives.

Watch or listen to the FM on Demand Podcast right here. 21 min K-12 by Elior’s first Chef on the Road travels to rev up school kitchens


FM On Demand with Tara Fitzpatrick is your back-of- the-house pass to insightful, thought-provoking and fun conversations with onsite foodservice’s leaders, top chefs and dietitians, industry icons, marketing mavens, up-and-comers, experts, and fascinating friends.

Chef Camilo Garavito has lived, studied and cooked all over the world, and now he’s focused on Wisconsin schools as a regional chef, bringing ideas and energy to Elior’s scratch kitchens, meeting students and generally bringing a beam of culinary sunshine to each location.

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If you’re a manager or you work with other people (That’s all of us in some way, right?) you’ve likely had teammates, other departments or your eaters come to you to share a problem they’d like you to fix. In the spirit of professional development, here are some quick tips for cultivating a culture of effective problem solving, not a culture of dumping problems on managers. How to Create a Culture of Effective Problem Solving

Make Problem Solving a Positive Sharing problems can feel negative. It’s essentially highlighting something that is wrong and can often turn into unproductive complaining. Share with your team that all employees should be focused on continuously improving the current status. Noticing something that could be done better is a good thing! Encourage your team to be detectives, always on the lookout to refine. Reframing problems in this light can help teammates remain positive in their outlook and see things as an opportunity, versus a burden. Gather Ideas for Experiments As a leader, it can be tiring to always be collecting problems that need fixing. Make it a practice with your team and others you work with that if they would like to bring a problem to the table for fixing, they also must bring an idea for an experiment to test to potentially fix the problem. Finally, they must be willing to participate in the experiment too! By asking teammates to be a part of the solution, you get

their buy-in and the burden to fix the problem won’t rest solely on your shoulders. Encourage Quick, Cheap Tests When you and your teammate are ready to brainstorm fixes to the problem, think of tests or experiments you can conduct that are cheap and quick to test. Make it a practice with your colleagues to “fail fast” and “test often”, rather than spending a lot of time and resources on an experiment that may not work. Bring In Outside Perspectives As you get in the habit of working together to create experiments to solve problems, practice bringing in others not on your direct team for a unique perspective. If you’re looking for a way to revamp an always-slow payment line, for example, ask a student or a faculty member to join the discussion. It will ensure you have captured how the problem might feel to another user and will bring out-of-the-box ideas to the table.

Director of Marketing & Brand Stewardship at Ready Foods in Denver, Colorado. Annelise is a Graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Annelise has spent her career making sure food sounds appetizing on paper, looks good in pictures and tastes amazing when you order it. Her day-to-day consists of working at Ready Foods to connect food service operators with ready-to-use kitchen solutions that are easy to incorporate into a kitchen flow and bring great flavor to menu items. (We also use thousands of pounds of both Hatch and Pueblo chiles each year!) Her favorite hot lunch in elementary school was always nacho day. Ready Foods Annelise McAuliffe Soares

Calling all CONTRIBUTORS We Want YOUR Voice in Served!

Your Words: Two Ways

Cover Article

Feature Article

Cover articles are the main content of each of our editions. Space is limited to only three articles per month - and also get title space on the cover. Cover articles must directly relate to the monthly theme of Served Digizine (see below). Articles can include pictures, videos/audio, and written word. For the best-looking article, your written content should be between 800-900 words. Videos should be submitted with link to web hosted video. Things to remember when writing a Cover Article:

Feature articles are simply shorter articles and information that support the monthly theme of each edition but do not have to be directly related. Preference will be given to features that fit the edition theme most closely. Things to remember when writing a Feature Article: Articles can include pictures, videos/audio, and written word. For the best-looking article, your written content should be between 400-450 words. Videos should be submitted with link to web hosted video.

2023 Monthly Themes

January: Trends in School Nutrition March: Building Blocks of SN Programs April: Sustainability June: Success & Celebration: Honoring SY 2022-23

July: Professional Development September: Back to School! Starting Strong October: Farm to School December: Time to Recharge

Hey Industry! We want your thoughts and opinions too! We welcome articles from industry members at no charge! Contributions can’t be brand or product specific - but you can link to your contact info in your bio! Contact Us For More Info!

Don’t forget to submit your bio too!

Dr. Wilson has dedicated her career to improving access to healthy school meals for all children, presently serving as Executive Director for the Urban School Food Alliance . She has spent 23 years as a school nutrition director in three Wisconsin public schools, five years as Executive Director for the Institute of Child Nutrition, two years as USDA Deputy Under Secretary of Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, appointed by President Obama. Dr. Wilson holds a BS in Dietetics, a MS in Food Science and Nutrition and a PhD in Foodservice and Lodging Management. She has received many peer nominated awards and is considered one of the top experts in school nutrition. Dr. Katie Wilson, SNS Executive Director, Urban School Food Alliance


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Ignite 2023 was a party not to miss - and a party to remember. We want to give a huge THANK YOU to all our sponsors! Events like this couldn’t happen without your support of not just Ignite - but for the entire K12 industry. Thank you to everyone who attended and works so faithfully to feed America’s kids. ICYMI, Ignite had a little something for everyone. Innovation awards, four different photo booths, line dancing, a silent disco, food, drinks, networking, taste tests, yard games, DJ and dancing, and more! Get a sneak peak of the party on the next few pages, and if you didn’t have FOMO yet, you will when we release our special edition digizine on August 10th that when bring back all the feels from Ignite. Ignite is more than an event - it’s an opportunity for our industry to come together to Collaborate and Innovate . We can’t wait to celebrate you again next year in Baltimore.

OPERATOR INNOVATION WINNER: ST. VRAIN VALLEY SCHOOLS Why they stood out: Innovative use of partnerships with multiple educational programs What we love: Student-raised pigs and lambs on the menu - adding over 800 pounds of food locally raised In their words: Our team is creating a committed connected inter building /department action team in Education, Agriscience, AgTech, Food Innovation, Bioscience, STEM, Business & Entrepreneurial opportunities for students by offering potential new educational and career pathways. In conclusion, students are becoming more aware and excited about our school meal program and food system because of these axillary education innovations. We have more exciting opportunities on the horizon including dynamic partnerships!


Why they stood out: Innovative product and scalability What we love: Customer focused company building and learning from successful partnerships In their words: Fork Farms develops hydroponic vertical farming technology that makes it possible to farm indoors year-round, enabling all people to grow fresh food, nourish their communities, and heal the planet. The technology can be scaled to serve individuals and large-scale commercial producers alike because of its unique, modular design. Fork Farms also provides its growers with support and resources through its digital community. Within school nutrition, Fork Farms supports hundreds of school nutrition programs to grow their own produce, control their fresh food supply chain, and engage with classroom programs across STEM, agriculture, nutrition and more. This is enabled through Farmative, Fork Farms’ digital platform for partners to access growing resources and education tools, in addition to connecting school nutrition leaders from around the country to collaborate with one another. Fork Farms’ comprehensive support is rooted in its commitment to school nutrition, education, and increasing the access to fresh, nutritious food for all kids.


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Plant-forward takes center-stage at Illinois final keynote LEARNING FROM OTHERS: INNOVATION, INSIGHT, AND IDEAS FROM INDUSTRY LEADERS

and CEO of NxtGen Network on stage for a talk-show style end-of-conference keynote. Topics ranged from recognizing plant-forward trends in K12 foodservice, to food deserts and hydroponic indoor gardens, and included tips on how best to find and collaborate with sustainable partners. Join our guests, and all of the Illinois SNA attendees, for this final keynote conversation. If you are looking to implement plant-forward food items or just need encouragement to take the first step - you’ll want to listen in to this video.

Next Up was on the road again with a final keynote at the Illinois SNA annual conference. Two industry leaders in plant-forward innovation talked with a local district director about what being plant-forward looks like in K12 schools. The Director of Food Services, Kelly Diaz, from River Trails School District 26; Alex Tynk, President & CEO of Fork Farms; and Kayla Byers, Founder and CEO of Deeply Rooted Farms joined Marlon Gordon, Founder

Melissa Mayer | NxtGen Network

Let’s CREATE the Future Together!

Register Today! Oct. 1-3, 2023 Palm Springs, California

Nation’s Restaurant News is headed to California for another unforgettable meetup of the best in restaurant leadership — and we want YOU to join us. Engaging speakers: Learn from the best minds in the business Ask the Experts: Peer-to-peer discussion on tech tools, labor, financing and more Interactive roundtables: Fresh ideas for your biggest business challenges Pop-Up Food Festival: Immerse yourself in the latest menu trends Creators & Hot Concepts Awards: Celebrate the industry’s top innovators Festival parties: Cocktails, conversation and authentic connection

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Bowie State U. partners with plant-based Everything Legendary The startup, cofounded by an alumnus, supplies vegan proteins to the campus. | by Megan Rowe, Contributor, Food Management

A startup co-founded by a Bowie State University grad, Everything Legendary recently made its first foray into campus dining. Since late 2022, the Maryland college has partnered with the brand to feature its plant-based burgers, crumbles and chicken substitutes in its dining and retail operations. Everything Legendary already had an in: co-founder Danita Claytor is a Bowie State grad. But an appearance on “Shark Tank” and a $300,000 commitment by Mark Cuban, which triggered additional investment in the company, helped raise its profile and pave the way for the partnership with Bowie State. So did the brand’s retail presence in stores like Whole Foods and Target. Claytor and cofounder Duane Cheers started developing their product in a home kitchen in 2021, a response to complaints by Cheers’s mother about the lack of good- tasting burger options for vegans. The entrepreneurial venture took off quickly; within 15 months, Everything Legendary products could be found on thousands of grocery shelves. Last fall, Bowie State officials introduced Claytor to foodservice operator Aladdin Campus Dining and asked the company to give Everything Legendary a try. “We brought them on campus for a tasting, and it went pretty well. We’ve been using the product ever since,” says Rich Smith, Aladdin’s interim resident district manager.

To kick off the partnership, the college presented a vegan burger and taco bar. Beyond that, Bowie State menus have incorporated the vegan proteins in several ways, Smith says. They show up at the BeWell station, which promotes healthy choices; in tacos and other dishes at Baja Grill, a Mexican retail outlet; and occasionally at the grill station in burger form. “We’re probably using it three to five days a week in something,” Smith says. Dishes using the product are labeled for students. “When it’s in a recipe we will put out an Everything Legendary sign, so everyone knows what they’re getting.” Everything Legendary has boosted the profile of its product on campus through shrewd marketing, Smith adds. For the official launch, for example, the company hosted a party, complete with a disc jockey and videographer, and posted clips on social media. They recently staged a carnival. And they occasionally park a food truck on campus. The student response to the addition has been positive. “We don’t have a large population of vegans or vegetarians, but those that have tried it have really liked it,” Smith says. He also expects demand for products like this to continue growing. “It seems like half of my daughter’s friends are vegan or vegetarian; we’re seeing that more and more with freshmen coming in,” Smith adds.

In 2023, Everything Legendary has partnered with the Baltimore’s SEED School of Maryland to offer vegan fare during National Nutrition Month. Following the month’s theme of sustainable eating, the school served Everything Legendary burgers along with BeWell sweet potato skins and healthy berry-lime coco refreshers. (BeWell is a healthy dining platform from Elior North America, Aladdin’s parent company.) And an upcoming pilot program at Washington Adventist University in Maryland, an all-vegan school, may present perhaps the ultimate challenge.

repeatable,” she notes. “You have to get dietitians and chefs to really embrace the product so recipes and nutritionals can be developed around it.” Aladdin chose some of its most popular recipes and requested they be adapted to use Everything Legendary in place of traditional animal proteins. Next came staff taste tests, then final recipes. “It’s the only way you’re going to get traction with something like this,” she says. “It’s not a sustainable partnership otherwise.”

“We’re trying to create a repeatable model that we can carry to other schools,” Smith says.

Coble says Aladdin is committed to expanding Everything Legendary’s reach into school and

college foodservice—“not only because of the Bowie connection, but because they’re great people, and we want to make sure we’re doing them right,” she adds.

Christina Coble, a district manager for Aladdin, points out that a partnership like this needs consistency to succeed.

“It’s really important for foodservice directors and chefs to follow a proven process so it can be

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Baked mac and cheese is a staple and is the easiest dish to bring to a potluck. Enjoy! This recipe is truly the easiest and best mac and cheese recipe. It’s packed with cheese from edge to edge. There’s no roux in this recipe and no Velveeta cheese. It does, however, use 4 different kinds of cheeses! That’s right 4! I mix sharp cheddar, gouda, gruyere, and asiago. I once overheard someone adamantly stating that if you add anything else to mac and cheese, it’s not mac and cheese, it’s a casserole. Well, my friend, this is my version of a mac and cheese casserole. I just eggs as a binder because I like my mac and cheese to be firm on my plate. I’ve gone through many recipes to create this perfect one. It’s extra cheesy without using Velveeta cheese. Velveeta has this distinct taste that I am not always in the mood for. It also prevents the firmness that I want in my baked mac and cheese.

RECIPE: 4 Cheese Baked Mac & Cheese Serves 8

Ingredients • 1/2 lb Elbow Macaroni, cooked until al dente • 1 Cup Gouda, shredded • 1 Cup Sharp Cheddar, shredded

• 1 Cup Asiago, shredded • 1 Cup Gruyere, shredded • 2 Eggs, beaten • 2 Cups, Evaporated Milk • 1/2 tsp Salt • 1/2 tsp Pepper • 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted • Nonstick Cooking Spray Steps:

Some cheeses are so strong in flavor that they overpower the others and don’t create. I tried mac and cheese with smoked gouda and that smoky flavor ended up being too strong in the dish. But the unsmoked gouda ended up being the perfect balance.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 8 x 10 pan or similar size deep dish baking pan by spraying with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. While pasta pasta is cooking, shred 1 cup of each type of cheese. Mix cheeses together in a medium size bowl. 2. In a small bowl, combine eggs, salt, pepper, milk, and melted butter. 3. Once noodles are cooked until al dente, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Add half of the noodles in your prepared baking dish. Top with half the cheese mixture. 4. Layer the remaining noodles on top of the cheese layer and top with the remaining cheese. Ensure that all noodles are covered. 5. Pour your egg and milk mixture carefully over your layers. Press down to make sure that all of your noodles and cheese are coated with the mixture. 6. Place on the center rack in the oven and bake for 35 minutes until set. If cheese begins to brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil and continue cooking. 7. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Cheeses in My Four Cheese Mac & Cheese Sharp Cheddar Gouda Gruyere Asiago

To make the best mac and cheese, shred the cheeses yourself. Pre-shredded cheese will often have preservatives to keep them from clumping but these preservatives often take away from the true nature of the cheese’s creaminess and melting glory. If you can find it, buy the block of sharp cheddar and gouda. In the specialty cheese section, you can often find wedges of gruyere and asiago cheeses. The medium to large side of a box grader will give the perfect shredded sizes for your mac and cheese.

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Issue No. 17 July-August 2022

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The Strategy of Innovation Why you need a strategic plan as you innovate New Tool for Schools Check out this free resource to help serve healthier meals A New Way To Keynote Changing the way conferences are seen , forever

More Than Just a Party View the Ignite 2022 event recap, watch the final Next UP episode of The 4C’s Behind the Business of Child Nutrition , and hear from the event sponsors inside.

Cover Photo by Thai-son Nguyen, taken at Ignite on July 10, 2022

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