2017-09-22 / Community

Nutrition program gets a makeover in Cape Elizabeth

By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer

CAPE ELIZABETH – The Cape Elizabeth Nutrition Department is undergoing an organizational redesign, one Director of Nutrition Peter Esposito said is aimed at make the operation more efficient, but for now the structure of the Scarborough nutrition program, which Esposito also manages, will remain the same.

Robin Taylor, the kitchen manager of Pond Cove Elementary School and Cape Elizabeth Middle School, will be promoted to the role of assistant director of nutrition. In that capacity, Taylor, who Esposito called a longtime and well respected employee, will be in charge of overseeing the kitchens at Pond Cove Elementary School, Cape Elizabeth Middle School and Cape Elizabeth High School, as well as help with the coordination of ordering food, designing menus, staff training and implementing the school department’s new wellness policy.

“I have confidence this will be beneficial to the department and the community as a whole,” Esposito said.

Interim Cape Elizabeth Superintendent Howard Colter said the opportunity to restructure the nutrition department presented itself in August after Pam Gerrish, manager in the high school kitchen, stepped down and Esposito “thought this might be the time to rethink the design of support in both kitchens.”

Colter thanked Gerrish for the work she did for the Cape Elizabeth nutrition program.

“She did a great job and is excited to move along with her family business and catering,” he said at the Sept. 12 school board meeting. “We wish her great success with that.”

Esposito said to make the transition happen, he will hire part-time kitchen staff at the high school to cover the “lunch rush.”

Colter said the shift will save costs for the program, which “has been running into the red for several years now.”

“This isn’t going to be the solution for all that, but it will help reduce expense,” Colter said.

Esposito said the nutrition department restructuring in Cape Elizabeth would not impact the structure of the nutrition department in the Scarborough School Department, where Esposito also works as nutrition director.

“It is not something I am thinking of doing here,” Esposito said of Scarborough. “This is twice the size school district.”

The Scarborough school nutrition program will remain as it is with Leslie Dumais managing the Scarborough High School cafeteria, Joe Wright managing the Scarborough Middle School cafeteria and Ann LeGage managing the Wentworth, Blue Point, Eight Corners and Pleasant Hill school cafeterias.

Regardless of organizational structure, the focus of the Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough nutrition programs remains the same: include as much fresh produce and local ingredients as possible.

Harvest Lunch, an annual celebration of local food, was scheduled to be held in Scarborough Thursday, Sept. 21. The menu includes a choice of a quesadilla with roasted vegetables and cheddar cheese or harvest beef stew with local meat and vegetables, as well as a selections from the fresh fruit and vegetable bar, pumpkin squares and local milk. Produce for the event comes from Alewives Brook Farm in Cape Elizabeth and the Wentworth School garden in Scarborough.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at 282-4337, ext. 237.

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