Magnolia ISD Revamps School Menus with More Options and Hires New Chef

The Child Nutrition Department did a menu sampling from current and potential new vendors on a variety of foods including chicken nuggets, pizza, fish sticks, to name a few. From this sampling, some new foods were added while other menu items were removed from the list. The quality of the foods being offered through food service providers has increased and new vendors who meet the federal nutrition guidelines were added to the menu including Domino’s Pizza and Chick-fil-A sliders.

“We want to provide our students with quality, tasty, healthy options that they want to eat,” explains Dives.

New vendors like Domino’s Pizza provides a product with a whole grain crust, low-fat cheese and low sodium sauce which meets all the federal nutrition requirements. Dives stated the feedback from both the students and teachers has been great.

“Our teachers and kids are excited about the changes. They love all the new options and most of their responses are similar to ‘this is awesome!’ We have seen an increase in the number of lunches served per day,” explains Dives. “Last year, the average amount of lunches served per day was 5,400 compared to 6,000 this year.”

A new edition to the serving line is a salad bar with lettuce, spinach, veggies, light dressings and seasonal fruits. This is currently available at all the elementary and junior high campuses with a roll-out to the high schools in October. The salad bar is included in the price of the meal. An elementary lunch costs $2.35 and secondary lunch costs $2.60.

The District is currently piloting a program for the staff at Magnolia West High School and Magnolia Parkway Elementary. The Child Nutrition Department is providing breakfast and lunch at no cost to the teachers and staff at each of these campuses. The goal will be to extend this benefit to all the teachers in the district.

Magnolia ISD also hired a new district chef, Tim Ryan. He brings 23 years of experience as a chef. He started his career as an intern at a four star hotel in Washington, D.C. and worked as a head chef for three different restaurants in Southern Maryland.

After 9/11, Ryan joined the United States Army and worked as a veterinary food inspector for four years. He holds several certifications including State Licensed Health Inspector, Certified Dietary Manager, Certified Food Protection Professional and ServSafe Certified.

Ryan will be working with the kitchen managers on the quality of food, presentation and catering services.