Guam – A team of experts from the National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI) is here on island to help food service personnel enhance and streamline school meals. The team is conducting a special training at Okkodo High School this entire week.
Based in the University of Mississippi, the NFSMI is the leading institution and only national center dedicated to services for Child Nutrition Programs across the United States.
Executive Director Katie Wilson explains the type of training and technical assistance they are providing to the school nutrition programs in Guam and the CNMI.
“We’re providing education in basic nutrition, food safety,” said Wilson. “We have a 7 hour culinary skill training that they’re in the kitchen with a chef and we’re also doing training on things such as norovirus, so they’re getting a broad base of training.”
Food service personnel from the Guam Department of Education, Department of Defense, Mt. Carmel Catholic School, Department of Youth Affairs, Guahan Academy and the CNMI Public School System have been invited to the training. Wilson says they are also going through specifics on the basic meal pattern for the school meal program. She mentions this will give people new ideas on how to meet federal requirements.
“What’s happened in the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, it has just been revised to meet the new dietary guidelines for Americans,” said Wilson. “So there’s some more specific kinds of things, increased fruits and vegetables, increased whole grains and so we come and we just do the training for the very specifics of what that meal patterns should look like.”
Executive Chef Jason Morse says the goal of the training is to demonstrate quality standards and consistent levels that food personnel can incorporate into their schools. He notes DOE has 40 schools and in essence, has 40 restaurants, that should all run the same and have the same things. He gives the example of preparing and steaming broccoli.
“We had some frozen broccoli and some fresh broccoli and what we were trying to get at was making sure what they get cut, what they cook, what they prepare, all looks the same,” said Morse. “So it gives them that quality standard and it gives them the ability to have a really good delivery of food to the kids.”
Okkodo High School Cook Assistant Maria Palomo says she’s been working 12 years in food service. She mentions this training helps her with the time it takes in preparing meals for the students.
“Our time,” said Palomo. “It’s the time there that we really need to know more. So I’m glad that there’s a training and I’m here and I love it.”
Wilson adds a lot of food personnel gave up a lot of their time for this training and she applauds them for their hard work and dedication to the students.
“People really care about the students here in Guam and I think that this is a really wonderful opportunity that they invited us to come and provide this training,” said Wilson.
The training ends tomorrow [Friday].