The following is from Brookline Public Schools food service director Alden Caldwell.

Brookline Public Schools Community,

My name is Alden Cadwell, I am your new Director of Food Service. I have been here a little over a month and I’d like to introduce myself and address the great bagel controversy of 2012. I am a chef, I have worked as the Director of Food Service in Concord, as well as behind the scenes on Jamie’s Food Revolution in West Virginia. So I come to this position as a chef and experienced in school food service.

I have started in a year in which the federal regulations have changed significantly.  The implementation of this change is still being figured out all across the country and in each school in our district.  The specifics of the change can be found at these links: (http://www NULL.fns NULL.usda NULL.pdf) (http://www NULL.fns NULL.usda NULL.pdf)

I believe these new regulations can pave the way for healthier school lunches across the nation and in Brookline.  However, like any change there have been and will be growing pains.  Smaller portion sizing has been the most frequently observed change this year.  Please note the calories of the WHOLE meal have not changed significantly.  Rather it is the distribution of the calories on the plate.  The vegetable and fruit allotment has increased while the carbohydrate and protein has decreased.  Recent common sense tells us this is a good thing.  Michael Pollan tells us “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”  Granted this is a bit simplified but the message is there.  However, I’m sure we all know what the majority of our customers WANT to eat.  More mac n’ cheese, a few more fish sticks, hold the broccoli to give you a hint.

After a review of the new regulations and observing students in our cafeterias during the past three weeks, an immediate change I am implementing is the opportunity for free seconds to any student who finishes their firsts, including the sides.  This is an effort to provide the student who may require more food, due to athletics or going through a growth spurt, with the opportunity to get a little more.  It also follows the old adage “if you finish your veggies…”  This will be taking effect in the K-8 schools only.

Additionally, we will be having a recipe contest in the first two weeks of October.  Any Brookline Public School student and their family is encouraged to enter.  The recipe needs to have at least ¾ cup of vegetables per serving OR 1 cup of fruit per serving.  It needs to be simple to prepare, and the ingredients common and affordable.  Pictures of the cooking of this dish are also encouraged.  We will determine three finalists and then taste test those with panels of students to determine the winner.  The winner will receive a chef jacket and a coveted spot on the School Menu.  Please send all entries by Oct 12th to: (alden_cadwell null@null brookline NULL.k12

I am well aware that these two steps are just the beginning of adjustments we will need to make. There are many very capable motivated people in our community who will have input and who can help.  Please reach out.  I appreciate your feedback as we move forward.

Your Chef,  Alden Cadwell


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