Norfolk Academy Embraces Feed the Difference

Tanya Hipp, Director of Dining Services at Norfolk Academy for Meriwether Godsey, teaching the faculty and students the true meaning of our Harvest Meal.  On The Menu: Lessons To Educate The Appetite expands on educating the community on current issues including the benefits of eating locally-produced food, the value of planning a menu with fresh ingredients in season, the environmental benefit of eating less meat; and the need to combat hunger, both nationally and globally. 

Holton-Arms lunch named one of five best D.C. cafeteria meals

Holton-Arms School was featured in the March 2016 issue of the Washingtonian magazine, known as the D.C. region’s top source for information about dining, shopping, entertainment, and personalities.

MG Executive Chef Jay Keller was interviewed for the article, 5 DC Cafeteria Meals That Will Make You Feel Sad About Your Lunch, where he mentioned that the girls love the oven-roasted kale, “They’ll go through 40 pounds a day.”

Congratulations HAS!

 

 

A look at our a-maize-ing cafeteria staff

Article from The Guilfordian

This article is part of a series highlighting the often overlooked amount of work that goes into keeping our campus fed.

Founders Dining Hall. The Cafeteria. The Caf. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this place is a staple of the Guilford experience.

At some point or another, we have all enjoyed a meal there, shared a smile with the staff or ate way too much ice-cream from the ice-cream bar — guilty.

How many of us, however, have actually thought about the work that goes into it all?

“There are a lot of things that I think the community doesn’t see,” said Long Nghiem, district manager of Meriwether Godsey, the company that caters Guilford’s dining halls.

“All the hard work that (the dining staff) does is fantastic. They’re committed, and it really is a true partnership with the students. They love the community and they’re here to serve it.”

From planning menus and purchasing ingredients to preparing and serving three meals a day, a lot of work goes into running the dining halls here on campus.

“When you have to produce, for example, mashed potatoes for 1,000 people, that’s a big deal,” said Nghiem. “Think about when you’re at Thanksgiving and you have a family of about 20 people over, multiply that by 50 — for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Planning for each semester begins immediately following graduation, which allows dining services to operate more smoothly throughout the year.

“The operation is smooth and it is efficient, and becomes effective because there is a lot of planning and a lot of organization that goes into it,” said Snehal Deshmukh, director of dining services. “It simply becomes a matter of executing an operation”

The cafeteria’s menus prioritize balance and variety, things that, as a company, Meriwether Godsey strives to provide.

“The misconception we often hear is that we don’t want to (serve something), or that we can’t do it or don’t know how to, but that’s not the case,” said Nghiem. “We’re constantly trying to bring balance and to please the entire community. It’s our due diligence to prepare healthy made-from-scratch food.”

On top of all of this, dining services has also dedicated itself to promoting sustainability here on campus. Deshmukh’s team has even collaborated with the on-campus farm as a supplier for fresh produce.

“This partnership serves as an example of how local food can be incorporated into institutional kitchen settings,” said Nicholas Mangili, farmer and employee of the Sustainability Department. “If a farmer can meet the demand, institutions serve as great markets for local food expansion.

“For myself and the students that work and volunteer on the farm, it’s great to walk in for lunch and see the hard work of the farm and the cafeteria come together for a great meal.”

Dining services and its staff are clearly dedicated to the students here at our school.

“Food service is a very passionate job,” said Desmukh. “You have to have great passion for it. It is, however, a very gratifying (experience). Students on campus really come to know us and we really come to know the students. We become a family.”

As a community, we should try to be more mindful of the work they all do for us every day. They are, after all, a part of the family.

 

Robin’s Tea House… A One-of-a-Kind Dining Experience

Article from The Free Lance-Star

 

For me they’ve come in such disparate places as a mountaintop, a tropical island, a Paris train station, an open-air marketplace stall south of the border.

Sometimes it’s the food that’s stellar; other times it’s the ambience or the setting. And if you’re lucky, it’s all three combined.

That type of experience is getting harder to come by all the time, especially at chain restaurants, where everything from soup to nuts has been engineered and controlled for your dining pleasure.

 

But thanks to a reader recommendation, my wife and I recently enjoyed a meal that would be awfully hard to duplicate, at Robins Tea House at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden just north of Richmond.

First off, this is one gorgeous garden. Well, more like a dozen themed gardens on 40 well-tended acres, plus a conservatory with some amazing orchids in bloom. And I’m not even a flower guy, or much of a shrub lover, for that matter. Truth is, I go to a garden or Southern plantation and I risk contracting a bad case of “museum-itis.”

Some things you’ll need to know from the get-go: You’ve got to be a member or pay admission to the garden to eat in the tea house. There’s a seasonal lunch menu for weekdays and a seasonal brunch menu for weekends.

A bit of good news: Tea house portions don’t resemble the itty-bitty sandwich and pastry bites you find in tea rooms. Lewis Ginter also features another dining venue, a café with cafeteria-style self-service, which might be a better option for those with young kids.

 

The tea house incorporates some Asian design elements in its structure, but is so named for the Asian Valley Garden that surrounds it. With its floor-to-high-ceiling windows and exposed beam construction it resembles a great big pool house.

The dining room’s great acoustics, due to the use of special tiles overhead, helped showcase the soft jazz and New Age music on the sound system. While we were there, a couple was busy considering the tea house as a potential site for their wedding reception.

 

We started things off with a delightful lavender-lemonade cocktail and three apps: a smooth and creamy cup of roasted red-pepper crab soup that had a little heat to it; a colorful baby kale salad, with turnips, sweet potatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, almonds and Green Goddess dressing that looked like a work of art; and arancini—house-made butternut-squash risotto that had been lightly battered and flash-fried. It would have been nice to have a sauce with the latter; the three golden, perfectly crisped rice balls looked a little spare all by their lonesome. However, their delicate sweet, nutty flavor really didn’t require enhancing.

 

For entrées we got the “house-made buttermilk biscuits with traditional red-eye gravy” and “fall hash,” an autumn play on the traditional breakfast staple, with duck confit, bacon, caramelized onions, butternut squash, potatoes, fresh herbs and a sunny-side-up farm egg on top. Both mains came with a side of salad greens dressed with balsamic, which gave the plates nice balance and composition.

The hash was a winner, pleasingly earthy and rustic. The biscuits and gravy had a couple of issues: First, the gravy, which was more of a sawmill or sausage gravy, wasn’t as advertised, and second, too much fresh sage overpowered the mild, creamy flavors of the dish.

I guess the real question is: Why put biscuits and gravy on a bistro-style menu in the first place? Wouldn’t this be better left to Aunt Sarah’s or Cracker Barrel? This is one dish you don’t want to overseason or overly experiment with.

 

We had satisfyingly robust coffee, with chocolate gelato, for dessert. With less air and fat than ice cream, the gelato had a flavor that was unusually direct, hard and fast. It went a long way toward redeeming our brunch.

Verdict: The food, setting and ambience of Robins Tea House all add up to one very memorable dining experience.