School lunches are often a one-size-fits-all service, but at the Delaware Area Career Center, Cafeteria Manager, Kendall Friend, is looking for ways to customize meals to fit individual wants and dietary needs. At a recent leadership meeting, two students specifically spoke up.
In an interview, Friend spoke about where his passion in the kitchen began, “It started when I was a kid, I always would cook with my grandma...I always told her I was going to own my own chocolate factory. When I got older, I went more towards the culinary side where I could throw everything in a pot and add my own flavor to it.” Once Friend was in high school, he found the Culinary Arts program at DACC and landed his first job in the kitchen at the school. “My goal is to set the standard in school cafes and raise the bar,” Friend said. When considering dietary restrictions and requests of the students, he is determined to provide enjoyable options for every student. Friend reached out to the student leadership group a part of DACC with the intention of extending the school’s cafeteria menu.
Haley Egbert and Emma Moehring were two student leaders that took particular interest in Friend’s search for feedback. Moehring, a Cosmetology student, spoke about her dietary restrictions, “As a student with a strict diet and who is allergic to multiple things, it’s nice to know that your school truly cares about you and is willing to accommodate you in any way that they can.” She is grateful for the options provided that meet her personal needs and how great of a job Friend is doing. Culinary Arts student, Haley Egbert, takes interest in the cafeteria as a whole and decided to speak up. In an interview, Egbert said, “I didn’t realize how much they took our student opinions into account. He asked what ideas we had, and then after that meeting, he implemented those ideas and we saw them become options.” As a Culinary Arts student, Haley spends a lot of time in the kitchen and says those experiences give her a greater appreciation for the time and effort it takes to create new menus, get creative, and maintain such a clean kitchen.
Friend dedicates a great deal of time and thinking to the DACC students who eat the school’s cafeteria food. He plans to continue to expand the menu and take school food to another level. Students are beyond thankful for the thoughtfulness and flexibility put into what they’ll find on their plates at school.
Story submitted by DACC Digital Design students, Bella Fredritz and Caroline Chubb.