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
Corporate News


What our clients are saying

“What a wonderful dinner we had tonight for our international families. The food was delicious and well presented as well.”

“Thank you for including me today in the food waste demonstration/[chef competition] and flattering me with the role of “judge.” I will proudly don the [Stop Food Waste Day] apron the next time I plan an “event” in our own kitchen. I think this is a very worthwhile cause and the statistics you read off are staggering. They, alone, can intimidate a home chef, let alone be the “driver’ for a professional one.”

“Thank you and your staff for all the care and thought you give CSW adults and students. You approach events with such care and elegance- I don’t know how you do it! Especially day after day. Please thank all your staff for their wonderful work and kind manner with all of us. Here is to a great year!”

“Many, and I do mean many, thanks for a great Parents Weekend.  I heard from so many happy parents and you all work very hard to make it happen.  In gratitude and kindness…”

“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.”

“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 can’t thank your entire team enough for the outstanding service, food, displays, everything!  You are a master at detail, and because of that Adam and I were able to focus on the parents.  I know what a sacrifice pulling off a weekend like this means, we are so appreciative and grateful to you all for your talent and generosity.”

“I ALWAYS feel spoiled by the meal offerings at CSW (The Cambridge School of Weston) and am entirely grateful for it. As I eat today's delicious and lavish lunch (and think about yesterday's as well), I can't tell you how much I feel so well cared for here, both with the food and by the dining hall staff. CSW cares for us in so many ways, both big and small.”

“Thank You! Chef Budd [and team], you overcame a new online ordering system (and hundreds of labels daily!), provided creative and healthy menus, continued to connect with local farmers to incorporate locally sourced ingredients, and worked tirelessly to serve the school community on three campuses.  While it feels like you are all a little like the Wizard of Oz right now, working behind a curtain in a kitchen far away, we sense your smiles and your passion to deliver the best possible service during these trying times. We are all so grateful!”

“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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