Some other morning, the ladies would have warmed frozen egg-and-cheese sandwiches. Or possibly unwrapped plastic packages of Honey Nut Cheerios. This morning was completely different at Cora Kelly School for Math, Science, and Technology. Working swiftly within the predawn hush, cafeteria employees Francisca Dofour and Mona Nasroun folded fried-rooster biscuits — contemporary from the oven — in black-and-white checked paper and poured out streams of chunky self-made cereal.
Their new boss — Isaiah Ruffin, the primary govt chef in Alexandria City Public Schools’ historical past — vowed extra disruption as he packaged biscuits close by. Their job titles, he informed the ladies, needed to go.
Up to date worker nomenclature — perhaps “kitchen supervisor,” Ruffin prompt, or “cafeteria chef” — is the least of many adjustments he’s planning for the Alexandria City school system, which serves about 16,000 college students in Northern Virginia. Different objectives embody securing more elements from native farmers, diversifying the menu, and decreasing kitchen waste.
However, the largest shift is slated for 2023: By then, Ruffin, 36, goals to remove prepackaged meals, which presently fills 95% of the Alexandria City menu. He needs each cafeteria — throughout the district’s 18 prekindergarten, elementary, center, and excessive colleges — to eventually make meals from scratch.
He might want to retrain dozens of cafeteria employees; however, Ruffin is undaunted.
Dofour nodded. She has witnessed college students’ delight firsthand: The latest Wednesday marked Ruffin’s third early-morning go to Cora Kelly, the place he ready college students’ breakfast for one-week final month in an early check of his concepts.
Ruffin’s hiring comes as colleges throughout the nation are switching to cafeteria fare made in-home. He’s no less than the second government chef to go a college system within the state (Virginia Beach Schools added its first executive chef in 2018) and one among an increasing roster nationwide.