SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — A new food service promises to improve the quality and variety of fresh and healthy dining options at Ashtabula Area City Schools.

The Board of Education has partnered with Metz Culinary Management to provide dining services for students, faculty, staff and guests, effective July 1, 2021.  The contract with Metz is a fixed sum — $350,000 guaranteed annually to the district for five years.

“First and foremost, Metz Culinary Management is about great food and hospitality,” said Jim Dickson, Senior Vice President of Education at Metz Culinary Management. “Our focus is on preparing fresh, homemade meals and reducing the amount of processed foods in our dining program. We offer great tasting meals that kids really enjoy while improving nutrition at the same time.”

AACS Chief Financial Officer Mark Astorino said school officials spent a lot of time talking to various food service providers to ensure the right fit for the district.

“With Metz comes expertise and resources that we can tap into to optimize the dining experience for our students,” he said. “My instinct is that students and staff will be very happy with the program. The business relationship will ensure the solvency of the food service fund and that our workforce remains under our control.”

Metz officials gave a 50-minute presentation to the school board at a work session May 25. 

Highlights of the Metz Culinary Management dining program include:

• Restaurant-inspired hospitality and service to every student and guest.

• A wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and homemade entrées.

• Snack menus that include fresh foods and reduced-calorie sweet and savory snacks.

• The highest level of sanitation, safety and service with highly trained, professional employees.

Superintendent Mark Potts said school officials are always looking to improve every aspect of the school district and how they can serve the school community.

“We believe Metz will be a great partner in providing food service expertise, as well as excellent quality food that our students and staff will enjoy and benefit from,” he said. “This partnership will also save us substantial money and still allow us to hold on to our staff. I believe it is a significant win for AACS.”

In addition, Metz Culinary Management will provide a regional dietitian who will conduct staff training and implement wellness and nutrition initiatives for students. Metz Culinary Management emphasizes nutrition education to help students develop healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. Student meetings will be conducted regularly to obtain feedback on the program and menus to continually improve the dining program.

Metz Culinary Management is a family-driven company that collaborates with its clients to deliver restaurant-inspired hospitality to each and every guest. In 2021, Food Management Magazine named Metz one of the Top 12 Management Companies in the U.S., according to the company’s website.

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