Schools feature new menu

Junior high students (from left) Sarah Colwell, Isaiah Brown and Maggie Trnka go through the food line at the Montgomery Middle School on Tuesday. Isaiah said he likes the additional options that TCU’s new food service company, Taher Inc. provides. (Wade Young Photo)

The lunch lines at TCU Schools this year are all about choices of healthful, handmade and chef-created foods, fruits and vegetables.
 
During the summer, the TCU Board of Education hired Taher Inc. to operate the district’s food service program. Taher incorporates chef-developed, made-from-scratch items from the freshest ingredients. 
 
Some of the menu items include foods that local students haven’t heard before: porcupine sliders, walking tacos, and cilantro lime slaw. But TCU’s menus also include familiar staples like turkey and gravy, scalloped potatoes, garden pasta alfredo, lasagna and orange chicken.
 
Taher’s Food Service Director for TCU is Amy Sauter, who explained that Taher’s chefs create their menus based on the season.
 
“We cook by the seasons so we’re using the freshest ingredients,” Sauter said. 
 
Sauter said the menus are all about choices. She said the school’s menus include a daily fruit and vegetable bar, expanded à la carte items, and a new international station at the high school that changes each day. For example, Mondays are Mexican and include fajitas, tacos and burritos. Tuesdays are a baked potato bar, Wednesdays are Asian, Thursdays are panini sandwiches and Fridays are lotsa pasta. 
 
“The students definitely have more choices, and more fruits and vegetables, and the opportunity to try different things,” Sauter said. “Of course they will still see their favorites.”
 
Sauter said Taher’s menu follows the federally required lunch guidelines for 2013-14 that includes students eating more grains, fresh fruits and vegetables in their lower fat meals. 
 
Education
 
In addition to providing tastier lunches, Sauter said Taher aims to teach students about the food they eat through a program called, “Harvest of the Month” program that features a specific fruit, vegetable and grain or legume that are incorporated into some of the meals. This month’s features are peaches, sweet corn and mint.
 
Local vendors
Sauter added that service also kept popular local food vendors Subway and Pizzeria 201 as menu choices at the high school.
 
She was optimistic when she said the students are going to like the changes. 
 
“I think it’s going to go well and be well received,” she said.
 
If numbers are an indication, students like it already. At Monday’s school board meeting, Sauter showed the numbers were up from what was planned for the first two days of school.
 
Last Tuesday, Logan Enger filled up his tray at Montgomery Middle School with a lot of vegetables.
 
“I like the new food service. Their main courses are good and we get more things,” he said. “I really like it because I love veggies and fruit, lots of fruit.”
 
Sauter said Taher also works with students with dietary needs, like those who are lactose or gluten intolerant. She said parents need to contact the district nurse who will then work with the school’s chefs.
 
If you have questions, you can reach Sauter at taher@tcu2905.us.