SBA NEWS

Get to know SBA's Chef Dan

How much do you know about Dan Rodriguez and Chef’s Food Service? As part of the Space for Grace Campaign, campaign co-chair Chris Crane had a chat with Chef Dan to better understand his story, how his business works, how he sees his role at SBA and plans for the future. Below are some of the highlights! Did you know that Chef Dan…

  • Has been at SBA since January 2007, after being a co-owner of a catering business whose clients included a few local schools.

  • Is a professionally trained chef, having studied at Johnson and Wales University. His specialty is classical cookery and desserts. His passion is to teach culinary arts.

  • Is an independent contractor to SBA, meaning his services are retained “as-needed.” As such, he is responsible for all revenue and expenses associated with the food service program. Unlike other local schools, there are “no guaranteed minimums” provided by the school and the school receives no revenue from the food service program.

  • Prepared only 50 meals per day when he first started. Now feeds about 270 students per day between entrees and salad bar. When he purchases the food, he looks back on historical records for specific meals, planning to serve anywhere from 220 to 250 entrees. He usually ends up with extra, as he never wants to come up short for the kids. 

  • Says his biggest challenges in getting ready each day are the limited food preparation space, and having only four food wells to keep food warm when serving. 

  • Averages 55+ hours/week in support of our food service program (with bus driver duties separate). That time includes planning, ordering, pick-up (because our orders are often too small for deliveries), preparation, serving, clean-up and administration tasks such as bookkeeping. His two assistants, Katherine and Lori, work 40 and 30 hours per week, respectively. 

  • Worried about the future of his business during the early days of COVID. He’s grateful for all the time school remained open, and that he was able to pivot to box lunches. 

  • Will be launching a self-service online portal in July, to allow parents to check their account balances and see what meals their children ate.

  • Hopes in the future to be able to offer vegetarian options every day, gluten-free options on a more regular basis, and even expand to options like an order-ahead sandwich bar once space and staffing expand.

  • Views his work at SBA as a calling, a mission in life. He often ends up with a dozen-plus accounts in arrears at the end of the year, some of which never get paid, but he refuses to ever turn a student away for a meal. 

  • Is very excited about the changes ahead for SBA, between the new head of school and the cafeteria expansion. He is hopeful to remain at SBA to continue to serve our community. 

An invitation for feedback:

We’d like to give you an opportunity to provide your own feedback on the food service program offered at SBA. Click the button below to access a brief five-question survey. Thank you for your input!

FOOD SERVICES SURVEY

 

Get to know SBA’s food service provider

How much do you know about Dan Rodriguez and Chef’s Food Service? As part of the Space for Grace Campaign, campaign co-chair Chris Crane had a chat with Chef Dan to better understand his story, how his business works, how he sees his role at SBA and plans for the future. 

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