Director of Dining Services Wins President’s Award
Out-of-Door is proud to announce that Director of Dining Services Lindsey Kraus is the recipient of the 2018-2019 Flik Independent School Dining President’s Award. The prestigious award is given to a Flik associate who “consistently exceeds expectations, makes a positive difference in the lives of their guests and peers, exhibits humility, and strives for excellence every day.”
Miss Kraus, who has been working in the food service industry for more than 10 years and joined Flik in January of 2018, says that she was not anticipating receiving an award when she was invited to the event in Hartford, CT. “I am grateful that I’ve been able to come into ODA and make a positive change. That has actually been the ultimate reward,” says Miss Kraus.
When she took the reins of ODA’s dining program, Miss Kraus faced many obstacles. From staffing and healthy options, to sustainability practices and food waste, there were many challenges to tackle.
“When I first came to ODA, we didn’t have a full, permanent team that wanted to be part of the ODA community. It was important to me that the team members got to know the students and became engaged by going to their games and performances. I wanted them to take pride in the work they do and to feel like they are not only a team, but part of a family.”
Students expressed interest in having more healthy, seasonal options, alternative grain choices, and more variety in cuisines. Wishing to support the local community, Miss Kraus and her staff began to regularly visit the Lakewood Ranch Farmers Market and formed relationships with local farmers who could supply fresh produce and Camelot Breads for fresh baked goods. They added new flavors into their meal options, a variety of healthy snack choices, and whole grain choices including freekeh, amaranth, and farro.
Miss Kraus–who is an ardent supporter of sustainable practices–was encouraged by the knowledge that Out-of-Door consistently works on its sustainability initiatives. She worked with the students in the Global Action Club regularly, moving the discussion forward by talking about the “why” in addition to the “how”. They explored working with the facilities staff to begin composting on campus, and ways to reduce food waste.
Supporting Head of School David Mahler’s desire to reduce the use of plastic, she moved away from coated paper plates, plastic straws, and plastic cutlery, and introduced responsibly sourced plant-based plates and silverware. She was also supported in her desire to serve only antibiotic-free chicken, cage-free eggs, hormone-free milk, and sustainably sourced seafood. “I am fortunate that both Flik and Out-of-Door are flexible and open to new ideas about making changes in order for the School to become more sustainable,” says Miss Kraus.
In addition, Miss Kraus has met with a regional dietician who visited both campuses and spoke with students. She was impressed with the variety offered at each meal, as well how open ODA students were to trying new foods. When students at the Lower School were asked what foods they enjoyed the most–the “flaky, baked cod,” and what they would like to have added–sushi rolls!
Looking ahead, Miss Kraus says that there is still plenty of work to be done to enhance ODA’s sustainability practices and reduce its carbon footprint. She looks forward to working in partnership with students and leadership to help Out-of-Door realize this challenging but attainable goal. But in the short time she has been at ODA, we have seen a strong impact impact - enough to elicit national recognition.