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Superintendent Listening Post

Mayo’s Student Nutrition Services spices up spring menu


Over the third quarter, Mayo High School has introduced many changes to their lunch menu, including the return of the beloved Berry Blendz smoothies.

Mayo’s Student Nutrition Services employs a full-time chef, Travis Pearce, to create new recipes, as well as test potential meals with students and kitchen managers. Kitchen staff are also encouraged to propose new recipes or menu ideas that could potentially work as lunches. Thanks to this, we have four new dishes added to the school spring menu for students to enjoy.

The first of our new dishes is Kati Kati chicken, which is served with Moroccan couscous. Kati Kati chicken is also known as African Grill chicken. Besides being grilled, the chicken is sautéed then covered in a delicious blend of spices. It has roots in the Northwest province of Cameroon, a country in West Africa. Couscous is a light and fluffy grain that is a staple in many North African and Middle eastern dishes. 

The second new meal is Cavatappi with Italian Sausage. This is another noodle based lunch option, topped with a delicious sauce and sausage. Cavatappi is a type of macaroni, thick, hollow pasta made without eggs. Students also have the option of adding cheese and other toppings from the toppings cart. The sausage is sautéed with onion, mushroom, garlic, and basil in a creamy tomato sauce. It is pork sausage, so those with dietary restrictions may need to give this delicacy a pass.

Our third new meal choice is Chicken Banh Mi. A relatively unknown dish in America, kitchen manager Jenni Chiodo describes it as “a staple in Vietnamese culture; this umami-rich sandwich is served on warm, baked bread and an accompaniment of pickled fresh vegetables.” A warning for students with food allergies or restrictions, Chicken Banh Mi contains fish sauce and soy.

Our final new meal this spring is Bruschetta Chicken and Pasta. This is another noodle-based lunch, served with sautéed chicken and a delicious bruschetta mix of tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and mozzarella cheese. 

All of the food served in Rochester school lunches comes from Upper Lake Foods, an independent and family-owned company headquartered in Cloquet, Minnesota. They are the largest independent food supplier in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also ordered weekly from Bix Produce, to make sure students always have fresh and tasty food.

As you may have noticed, the Snack Shed has made a comeback as well. It is open Tuesdays and Thursdays during lunch hours. They serve four different flavors of chips, rice crispy bars, and the fan favorite Berry Blendz smoothies. “All of the smoothie flavors have been a hit,” kitchen manager Jenni Chiodo said. “There are way too many to list, but a few favorites are Razzelade, Hawaiian Sunrise, Sunset beach, and Watermelon Wave.” Berry Blendz smoothies are priced at $4, while chips sell for $0.75, and Rice Krispies are $1. Savvy snackers get their snacks from the Snack Shed, as these prices are far cheaper than those at the vending machines for similar items.

Menus are on a three-month cycle, so these items may not be around next year in the fall, which is all the more reason to give them a try now. Especially beloved menu items are kept year round, so if you really love these dishes, let the kitchen staff know, and they may help you try to keep them around for next year!


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