I love bragging to other Chefs and Food Service Professionals about our Kitchen Crew. When I describe the variety and quality of food we produce daily, I consistently get positive feedback. More often than not, a follow-up comment is made either in nostalgia or discontent with current school standards.
"I wish my school had real food."
I have a prepared answer to this because the attitude often accompanying the comment is one that my kitchen is special or my resources are unique (both are true but that could be true of any kitchen). My answer turns the focus from the food to my Kitchen Crew. Food is simple. Lettuce is lettuce, meat is meat, milk is milk. Quality can vary but the products themselves can be very simple. What a kitchen really needs is a Crew that can take simple ingredients (in their primary forms) and cut, cook, and serve them in a skilled fashion. Kitchens don't need organic this or truffled that, they need trained cooks that can take something like ground beef, season it properly, cook it simply and serve it attractively. It takes skill to turn a roast chicken into great roast chicken.
A tip of the hat food service staff everywhere but I am truly grateful for the Kitchen Crew at The Lexington School.