Cathie Creager, CDM, CFPP
Head Chef East Grand Rapids High School
East Grand Rapids, MI
"We have an open campus with a Chinese restaurant within walking distance. A lot of students went there for lunch, making it our biggest competitor.
"We put our heads together and came up with something different from what they offer. We feature once a week both a made-to-order stir-fry bar with Asian ingredients and a pasta toss stir-fry bar with Italian ingredients. Students choose their own combinations and watch as it's cooked.
"What students like most about Stir-Fry Monday and PastaToss Wednesday is that the food is fresh and it's appealing to the eye.
"The variety of vegetables, meats and sauces we offer, the three minutes it takes to cook, and the fun of the process have helped to make students want to stay on campus for lunch."
Pete Wallin Chef/Manager Dining Services Ashland University Ashland,OH
"One of the more interesting things we do featuring Asian ingredients is a Filipino dish called 'pancit' which includes some spiced vinegars and soy sauce.
"Chilies and various meats and fish may be added to the dish. This recipe has been westernized a little. Traditionally, animal fat is used in the cooking of the noodles and veggies. Actually, this Philippine dish is prepared differently depending on the region and family tastes and traditions.
"Here we prepare the pancit on a flat grill in the dining hall, cooked in batches and served hot off the grill."
G. William Baglione Retail Service Manager Food & Nutrition Services, University Hospital Newark, NJ
"When we first brought in the sushi chef, I cautiously trialed the concept only once a month. A lot of people thought it would fail, but it wasn't long before word spread about the concept. Once a month became twice a month, and sushi is now a Wednesday tradition.
"As soon as the chef arrives, he sets up the product and dècor. A line immediately forms.
"On the Newark campus we have a large student body in addition to a large residency program. Both enjoy the visiting sushi chef and the product line which he brings to the unit."
"Our patrons always purchase one or two items without hesitation, and don't mind the wait when he is producing the sushi to order. Often patrons spend between eight and 10 dollars."
Debra Korzec-Ramirez, MS, RD, CDN Nutrition Education Coordinator Boston Public Schools Boston, MA
"We use a very popular stir fry in our middle and especially high schools. It's a recipe from the USDA Toolkit for Healthy Kids.
"We use mung bean sprouts, ginger, soysauce, garlic and chop suey vegetables. Of course, this is served on white rice with a Chinese egg roll. "We use our commodity turkey with this and it comes out excellent. It is a popular product with our students."