Lunch is for learning at Waterside School - CulinArt Group

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Lunch is for learning at Waterside School

STAMFORD, Conn., May 9, 2022—Lunch is an opportunity for students at Waterside School to learn about food, of course—as well as manners, etiquette, and the sense of responsibility that comes from cleaning up after oneself and clearing the way for those dining next.

Waterside opened in 2001 (as it happens, Sept. 10) as a donation-funded institution with a mission to, among other things, ensure the fullest development of every child’s character. Most of that happens in the classroom (grades pre-K through 5th) but the dining room has its share of influence, too.

CulinArt took over dining services at Waterside on March 30. “Students are chosen based on need and potential for growth,” explains Kristen Jelormine, senior chef manager. “They receive a top-notch education along with life skills—this is where family-style dining comes into play.”

A typical meal includes a fresh salad, crudites, hot entrée (such as a Turkey Burger Roll-up), and side items (say, sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli). Students arrive at their dining hall table at designated times, take their seats, and participate in a blessing. Teachers serve them foods on china, they eat with silverware, and students clear their place settings when finished.

Jelormine quickly learned something herself—that the students had no intention of keeping their thoughts to themselves. “They are a wonderful group,” she says, “brutally honest, but grateful, too.” For example, Jelormine hears “Chef Kristen, thank you for making my lunch today” often, and bear hugs are common. So are comments such as, “‘we really liked the Turkey Burger Roll Up, but it needed more seasoning.’ They are quite a vocal bunch, which is one of the things the school is teaching them.”

The 140 Waterside students trace their backgrounds to 37 countries, making it an ideal setting for celebrating diversity with food. “I am looking forward to this month’s promotions,” Jelormine says, particularly since May promotions celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage, Jewish American Heritage, and Cinco de Mayo. A recent visit by Stephanie Dorfman, MS, RDN, to promote Stop Food Waste Day prompted many students to think or say, “‘Oh, so that’s why all those posters of broccoli are here.’ The cultural melting pot [here] is what really makes this account unique and is the perfect climate for our diversity mantra.”

Jelormine’s sole employee is Ingrid Moore, who has run the dining service for Waterside almost since its opening. Now with CulinArt, Moore enjoys an honorary status that evokes her many years of service. On the last Friday of each month, Moore prepares a hot breakfast for the whole school community as part of its “Dress Down Day.” To thank her and celebrate her years of service as a fixture of the school, April 6 was designated “Mrs. Moore Day,” viewable on Instagram here.

Jelormine, who joined Hilary Ham’s district as float chef last October, is already looking forward to next school year as the end of this one draws near—and not just to prepare meals in service to the students. “They have a rooftop garden,” she says. “I can’t wait to get my hands into some dirt!”

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  • May 9, 2022
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What our clients are saying

“Thank you so very much for the AMAZING dinner you provided for the President, Dean and Jim & Marilyn Simons. They really enjoyed it!! It was perfectly thought out and delicious. Your expertise and impeccable presentation and taste were truly appreciated!”

“We were totally impressed by the presentation and care in which these new team members were brought into the CulinArt family. So happy we made the decision to choose CulinArt Group.”

“We are so thankful and so impressed by your immediate attention to our power outage. It was such a relief to see all the equipment and workers coming in within a few hours of the outage. Thank you for serving dinner to all [the] students in a very difficult circumstance. Please extend our thanks to your workers who braved cold weather to grill hamburgers and hotdogs.”

“The food offerings provided by CulinArt are of the highest quality and enjoyed by our students, faculty, and staff.  The CulinArt team understands the importance of providing healthy options that taste good and are appealing to students.  We also appreciate that the team listens to feedback from our community and makes adjustments as needed.”

“Thank you all for such a wonderful grand pasta buffet on Friday! Everything went so incredibly smooth - from set-up to break-down. The menu was thoughtfully planned and the lunch was such a treat and undeniably delicious - the best I’ve ever had! I have heard only glowing reviews of the luncheon. Thank you guys today and every day!”

“This is EXACTLY the type of service and experience we had always envisioned for our patients at MSK Koch!  Thank you Chef Ryan for going out of your way for this patient and all patients and staff!”

“We want to take a moment to celebrate all the employees who worked on the front lines during unprecedented times. Your efforts and dedication to going above and beyond are noticed and appreciated. Thank you for being the heart and soul of CulinArt Group. We couldn’t do this without you. Chef Jay and Chef Paul have been so awesome in the Hubbell Café.  There has been significant change, but they take it in stride and keep the delicious food coming.  We truly appreciate them!”

“Just wanted to thank you and the team at Lake Success for taking care of us for my daughter's birthday. I figured the event was going to be straight forward, but it felt like the event was treated with just as much care and attention to detail as a wedding or other big event, which was very much appreciated. You anticipated everything that we needed and are so capable, bravo! The party was 10x more beautiful and lovely in reality compared to how I imagined it, thanks to you guys.”

“With all the prep work from Winterim ramping up and classes continuing as usual, it's a busy time to be a Forman teacher. Imagine my delight, tired as I was, when I delved into the upscale-restaurant-quality chicken parmesan our dining hall served last night. Forman is all about support, and providing our students with a dinner of that quality is just as important a measure of support as anything that happens in a classroom.”

“I will say that CulinArt has always been a very collaborative partner to T. Rowe Price, listening to our current needs and future goals and suggesting realistic and achievable strategies to meet those goals.  2020 was obviously no exception.  CulinArt also altered other areas of our OCS and pantry programs to create safer environments for all our associates. We can only thank you for your continued flexibility and innovative ideas through these difficult times.”

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