November 7th, 2017
Executive Sous Chef Louis Martinez spent hours upon hours watching Frugal Gourmet as a kid and running to his local library to scour cook books searching for recipes he could handle at age 8. A couple of decades later, he’s knee deep in creating and developing recipes for SNP and was instrumental in the production of SNP’s soon-to-be-released cookbook “A Chef Walks into A Cafeteria…”.
I had an opportunity to tear him away from his kitchen duties and interview him. He’s a surprising person and funny.
Deb Glasser: Where’d you get your start?
Louis Martinez: My mom’s kitchen and... [more]
September 26th, 2017
It’s nearly October (gasp!) and most of us have settled into the routine of the “new” school year: the early morning wakeups, homework schedules, and hustle and bustle of fall activity. Here at SNP, driver routes have been finalized, new items developed by our chefs are popping up on our menus, and nutrition special events are being scheduled.
There are many things that set SNP apart from other school lunch caterers. Certainly, our food is always fresh, nutritious and delicious. Yes, its prepared from scratch. Of course, it meets the NSLP guidelines.
However, at SNP we try to... [more]
August 17th, 2017
Each year, sometime during the first week of August, the entire SNP team meets to review, revise, revitalize, and strategize for the upcoming school year. For many on the team, it’s also a chance to reconnect with friends after summer break and for others it’s the first chance to connect a face to a name.
When we convene, sometimes, an employee is recognized for reaching a milestone employment anniversary. That happened a few weeks ago except it wasn’t just one employee, it was three of us who celebrated five-year anniversaries with SNP. Us. Myself included. I started... [more]
May 30th, 2017
The 2017 school year reaches a close
And with that comes this reflective prose
We are grateful as ever for our students and schools
Working diligently to comply with the Smart Snacks rules
Our fantastic state of the art kitchen was put to the test
Producing new menu items which were met with success
Nachos, calzones, and chicken pot pie
Cuban sandwiches, turkey meatloaf, and some innovative sides
The Alphabet Produce Train visited some sites
While others sampled Green Smoothies to their delight
The SNP video made its debut
Showcasing the talent and all that we do
Summer is upon us, now go out and play
We’ll catch our... [more]
May 2nd, 2017
Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture announced yesterday in a memo titled USDA Commitment to School Meals that the USDA would offer some flexibility to schools across the nation who have “worked diligently to overcome operational challenges”. Meant to assist schools who participate in the NSLP, the proclamation of this easement in menu planning intends to help with providing “nutritious and appealing meals and encourage student participation in the meal programs”.
- USDA will begin the regulatory process of offering schools additional options to serving 100 percent whole grains and will continue to provide States the authority... [more]
April 4th, 2017
The SNP team covets the relationships we have with our schools' administrators, teachers, students, and their parents. We work hard to provide students with fresh, delicious, compliant meals are regularly asked about both our processes and the parameters of the National School Lunch Program.
We thought it woule be beneficial (and fun!) to provide our clients with an informative (and fun!) video deconstructing the complicated nature of school lunch and offering a glimpse into our central kitchen. SNP is committed to scratch cooking using quality ingredients and we hope the video offers some insight into how we... [more]
February 27th, 2017
We are often asked about our menu planning process. How do we manage to provide our students with healthy, innovative, and delicious school menus? It's a cyclical process that involves careful planning, execution, evaluation, & modification.
First, we plan
SNP's combination of culinary expertise and nutrition knowledge is used to create cycle menus that incorporate numerous exciting flavors. Our chefs take into consideration MANY factors that ultimately affect the menu. Quality, cost, and availability of ingredients is paramount when planning. Menus are seasonal and weather patterns impact what is available from our growers and suppliers. For example, this... [more]
January 24th, 2017
Take a look at SNP’s January menus and you might notice new items making an appearance. January’s weather calls for comfort food and we’ve created several fantastic lunches to keep our students cozy and warm during these “cold” winter months. My three favorites (in no particular order):
Turkey Meatloaf, made from scratch, served with mashed potatoes and gravy. A healthier take on this diner classic, the turkey is well seasoned, hand formed in individual portions and baked to perfection. And mashed potatoes and gravy? Who doesn’t love ‘em?
Citrus Chicken with Brown Rice and veggies is destined to... [more]
December 15th, 2016
We are grateful for the support and dedication of our clients and vendors. Each year SNP puts together a holiday gift to express our appreciation. In past years, we’ve done, cookies, cakes, soup mixes, and this year we made granola. Here's the recipe and a glimpse of Chef Louis crafting our SNP Holiday Granola (which is so amazing, it just might be our new holiday tradition).
Wishing all of our SNP friends a happy, healthy, and delicious 2017
November 3rd, 2016
Over the summer my daughter met and fell in love with a cow. In that moment, she swore off eating beef “forever”. I gave it a month. Well, it is November and she has yet to go back on the promise she made to herself. While the rest of us cut into juicy rib-eyes, she opts instead for a turkey burger or grilled chicken breast. I applaud and support her ethical convictions and tell her frequently.
Many of the students we feed do not eat any meat or simply prefer a meatless meal on occasion.
We proudly offer... [more]
September 1st, 2016
There’s no tiptoeing into the school year.
It’s like going for a swim in the Pacific Ocean: hold your breath, close your eyes, and dive in.
Once you catch your breath and wipe the salt water from your eyes, there’s that wonderful moment that hits you. You take it all in and remember how delightful it is to just float in the ocean. Sure, there are waves. But those always pass. And the sheer joy of the salty beach air, soft sand and tranquil blue water resonates.
The SNP team has dived right into the 2016-2017 school year.
Our kitchen is bustling and the... [more]
April 5th, 2016
We’ve been waiting with baited breath to tell everyone our little secret. Okay, it’s not “little”. It’s actually a 10,000 square foot secret and houses our new command center including a state-of-the-art kitchen facility and our corporate offices. And we are excited to put it to work.
The last nine months have been spent transforming an empty shell of a warehouse into a modern commissary kitchen with the capacity to produce thirty thousand meals per day and to service schools throughout all of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. One of only several kitchens this size built in Los Angeles in... [more]
March 8th, 2016
The Alphabet Produce Train has officially pulled out of the station and the SNP train crew is elated! We have worked tirelessly to produce this year’s event, designing and engineering an old fashion steam engine replica complete with fruit and vegetable details AND creating a menu that highlights 26 amazing fruits and vegetables. The Alphabet Produce Train (APT), SNP’s premiere nutrition special event, is a train themed salad bar. Students are served salads that include items from every letter of the alphabet, serving as a nutrition platform by encouraging fruit and vegetable consumption. Our students get to “board the train”... [more]
January 19th, 2016
The rain is here (aloha, El Nino) and so are the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines. Released every five years, the Guidelines help shape what Americans eat (or at least are “supposed” to eat) over the next five years by informing “the development of Federal food, nutrition, and health policies and programs”. The Guidelines are particularly important to the school nutrition community because they will undoubtedly influence the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the reauthorization of the Health and Hunger Free Kids Act (HHFKA), happening any day.
So, what do these Guidelines say? What are we “supposed” to eat? What are we... [more]
December 11th, 2015
With only a few weeks left of 2015 (yikes!) the SNP chefs and crew are busy preparing holiday feasts for the students, faculty, and administration at our schools. Amidst the hustle and bustle of it all I had the chance to sneak into the kitchens and ask our staff to take a moment and reflect on what the holidays look like, feel like, and taste like for them. The responses, mostly family centered, reminded me that SNP is one big family with a one common goal. Everything we do is to ensure the students we feed are happy and getting... [more]
November 12th, 2015
Halloween has come and gone and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. There’s a chill in the air and our students are “bundled up” as they make their way to school (Note: as a girl who spent the first 17 years of my life in Chicago, I feel compelled to use quotes around bundled up-we are in Southern California after all). Venture into any of the SNP kitchens and the season is reflected in our menus. At many of our schools we are now serving chicken noodle soup, grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, as well as hearty stews.
The SNP... [more]
September 15th, 2015
First day of school? Cue the requisite “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” project. For my second grader, this took the shape of a paper cut out of over-sized sunglasses with instruction to write a favorite summer experience on each lens. She wrote of our family trip to the Midwest to see grandparents (chock-full of fireflies and thunderstorms-both of which are anomalies to my California girls) and on the other lens, she gushed about her experience at science camp and the solar system project she tackled. Her excitement over the moon specifically was palpable.
With the knowledge that our R... [more]
January 6th, 2014
Did you hear that School Nutrition Plus is serving up meals cooked from scratch? We are very excited about it, and have found that scratch cooking is highly valuable in our mission to provide healthy, delicious, and nutritious meals for our students. Some students are even saying that the food we serve “tastes like home.”
Scratch cooking provides endless benefits in the form of a home cooked experience.
For starters, our students are constantly introduced to new foods and flavor profiles
Chef Louis: Here, try my homemade Ravioli…
Kids: No way!
Chef Louis: But it’s like inside out pizza!
Sounds like fun, right? Getting children... [more]
June 13th, 2013
La Canada Elementary Schools and SNP just finished their annual Alphabet Produce Train salad bar event featuring vegetables and fruit from every letter of the alphabet. The students were excited to participate and the day was a resounding success. “Can we do this again tomorrow?” asked a 5th grader.
First things first, and because this is by far the most popular FAQ…
Q: “What’s “X”?
A: Why Xtra Fancy Squash of course!
This year we were thrilled to be featuring a blend of roasted and raw veggies and fresh and dried fruit on our salad bar. Particularly scrumptious thanks to SNP Executive Sous Chef... [more]