Community Interviews

Child Nutrition Supervisor Compass Group/Chartwells K-12 Clio Area Schools, Michigan What are your responsibilities and how many meals do you serve? My daily responsibilities are staff training, menu development, program implementation, catering, marketing, safety program, environment and equipment updates. We serve 2,500 meals a day. How did you decide to incorporate canned pears into your… Continue Reading Meet a Chef: Thomas Wlodarczyk

Child Nutrition Supervisor Healdsburg Unified School District, Healdsburg, CA Second Place Winner of the 2020 CAN DO Challenge Pear Hand Pies What is your background in foodservice? My experience in foodservice started when I was 14, at a frozen custard shop in Indiana. But where my career really started to take shape was at a… Continue Reading Meet a Chef: Leigh Ann Bozung

Associate Director of Culinary Operations Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo Third Place Winner of the 2023 CAN DO Challenge Chilean Pumpkin Pear Empanadas What was the inspiration for your winning Chilean Pumpkin & Pear Empanadas? I intentionally had a lot of unique flavors mixed to make it a more unique taste. Pumpkin was used in the… Continue Reading Meet a Chef: Andrew Francisco

Meet Callie Gavorek MS, RD, CC, FMP, SNS It looks like you’ve been a champion of healthy eating for about a decade. What are some of the healthy eating strategies that you’ve worked on for K-12 menus? One of the most common nutritional requests for K-12 menus is lower sugar breakfast menus. The United States… Continue Reading Meet a Dietitian: Callie Gavorek

Zillah, WA Pacific Northwest Pear Grower When and where did you get started in the pear business? After serving in the Marine Corp, I came back to Washington’s Yakima Valley and worked for growers in the area until 1996 when I leased my first orchard. I started with 26 acres of pear trees and 4… Continue Reading Grower Interviews: Shawn Phelps

Child Nutrition Culinary Expert What is your background? I’m a chef, a dietitian, and a menu planning and recipe development consultant for K-12 schools. I also consult with food brands and commodity boards on their K-12 marketing programs. I’ve been working on child nutrition programs for over 10 years. Is there a fit for canned… Continue Reading Meet a Chef: Brenda Wattles

Hood River, OR Pacific Northwest Pear Grower How did your family get started in the pear business? In the 1920s my great-grandpa and his brother moved from the Midwest to Oregon to work on a 40-acre ranch in the Hood River Valley, located on the eastern side of the Hood River Valley, with the Columbia… Continue Reading Grower Interviews: Jake Moore

Garrett Berdan Chef and Registered Dietitian, Institute of Child Nutrition What does the Culinary Institute of Child Nutrition do? Our goal is to help Child Nutrition professionals implement best practices to improve all culinary aspects of their operation. We provide tips and strategies for preparing healthy culinary-inspired school meals. One of our new initiatives is… Continue Reading Meet a Dietitian: Garrett Berdan

Yakima, WA Pacific Northwest Pear Grower How did you get started in the pear business? My dad bought a 36-acre ranch in the Yakima Valley a month after I was born. After military service, my wife and I took over the ranch in 1976. We replanted trees and also started a honey bee pollination business.… Continue Reading Grower Interviews: Eric Olson