Thursday, October 02, 2014
   
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Menus, cafeteria take shape at school

Not hungry for beef tacos?

Perhaps the chicken enchiladas will tantalize your taste buds.

And there’s always the deli line where you can grab a salad or fruit, make a sandwich or ladle up a steaming bowl of soup.

As the new Gothenburg school cafeteria takes shape, Joni Jacobsen is determining the menu for six lines of different entrees plus the sandwich, salad and fruit and seasonal soup line.

The deli line is, and has been, offered without additional charge.

“There’ll be seven different choices every day for students,” said the school food service manager. “It will be a food-court type atmosphere with all of the different choices.”

With expanded lines (former offerings included two different entres daily plus the deli line), Jacobsen hopes to add a full-time and a half-time employee.

Superintendent Mike Teahon said money for the positions has been budgeted.

Currently, there are six full-time and one part-time employees.

Extra help will be needed as food service workers prepare lesser amounts of entrees but more offerings.

For example, Jacobsen said they may make 75 portions of chicken enchiladas instead of plating about 800 meals as in the past.

How the food is presented makes a difference in how students choose what they want to eat, she said.

With the changes, Jacobsen said she and her staff will have time to garnish the entrees more than in the past.

The different lines will be offered to students second through 12th grade.

Once construction is complete, which school officials hope will be before classes start on Aug. 18, there will be a learning curve, she said.

“We’ll need to learn how much to prepare because we don’t want a lot of waste,” Jacobsen said. “We hope everyone will have patience.”

In addition to planning menus, Jacobsen is also analyzing the nutrients that make up each food item she plans to serve which is mandated by the state.

For example, junior and senior high students must be offered 15 servings of grains a week—some of which can be met by serving lasagna and bread sticks.

With the $1.1 million project, Teahon said the school board is addressing space, time and food quality issues.

Dining room space will double to 6,400 square feet, students will have more time to eat because dining space will grow and food quality will be better, he said.

Instead of lunch beginning at 10:50 a.m. as it has in the past, Teahon said it will begin at 11:20 a.m.

Order will also be rotated, he noted, so different classes will be first in line on different days.

In addition to the cafeteria and kitchen, the concession area and rest rooms are being renovated as is the weight room and rest rooms in that area.

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