Mt. Blue RSD’s new food service director brings a new menu of ideas
Posted by Amber Kapiloff • September 5, 2016
FARMINGTON - The Mt. Blue Regional School District faces many changes in the upcoming school year, including its new food services director, Andrew Hutchins.
Previously, Hutchins worked for the Maine Department of Education in the Child Nutrition department where he traveled statewide helping improve the quality of meals served to students.
“I did a few trainings here at Mt. Blue and was really impressed with the staff and the food program,” Hutchins said. “When the position opened up I was immediately interested.”
Hutchins has been working hard all summer learning the ropes of the program, and creating new ones as needed. “I’m learning a lot as I go. There are surprises every day and lots of new things to acclimate to, but I knew there would be coming in,” he said.
One of the goals that Hutchins and the food services team is already working towards accomplishing is improved outreach towards parents and students. There is a new website with information about the lunch menu, food sources and an online payment option that is now open to all grades rather than just 6-12 as it previously was. The team plans on integrating more education into the program as well, with things like tours of the kitchens and in-class nutrition lessons.
Another big change that Hutchins is working towards is an updated menu. “We are trying to find ways to learn what the students actually want to eat for lunch,” Hutchins said. “Kids of this generation don’t want to eat what their parents or grandparents wanted to eat. They have a more sophisticated palate.”
One way Hutchins plans on reaching the new generation of hunger is by adding more ethnicity to the menu, including meals of Italian, Asian and Latin varieties. Hutchins also plans on adding more locally sourced food to the menu, while sticking to the allotted budget. The Mt. Blue Campus has raised beds and a small greenhouse that the food program hopes to utilize more often to show kids where the food they are eating actually comes from.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by how great the staff is here,” Hutchins commented. “Everyone from the kitchen staff to the front office has been very welcoming. So far the kids have been amazing, too. It’s a great district to work in.”
8/25/16 Mt. Blue Hosts "Back to School" Nutrition Training
There is so much more to these ladies jobs than cooking and serving food! On Thursday August 25th the Mt. Blue Nutrition Staff was joined by Nutrition Staff from RSU 10 and RSU 44 for a day long training event at the Mt. Blue Campus. Topics covered were managing food waste, complying with state and federal meal pattern requirements, civil rights training, time management, and record keeping and much more. Presenters were Sarah Platt from the Maine Department of Education and Andrew Hutchins from the Mt. Blue Regional School District. The day was filled with great interaction and instruction. After a light lunch, the individual districts met with their respective teams to review more district specific topics.
8/23/16 Mt Blue High School Receives "Smarter Lunchroom" Recognition!
Let’s Go!, a program of the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center, would like to congratulate you and your cafeteria staff for achieving 2016 Let’s Go! Smarter Lunchroom recognition at Mt Blue High School.
This recognition program honors school lunchrooms that are implementing best practices that reduce waste and increase participation. Many of these low-to-no cost environmental changes help “nudge” students to make healthier choices. Reaching this status is no easy task! Your staff has showcased their commitment to creating a healthy cafeteria by submitting their Smarter Lunchroom Scorecard.