Faculty, staff, students and parents have been raving about New Canaan Country School’s new Susan Haigh Carver ’51 Dining Hall and their delicious and nutritious lunches. Recently, the school’s dining staff received national recognition.
Director of Dining Services Carlos A. Caban traveled to Orlando Oct. 15 to accept the the 2019 National Account of the Year Award from FLIK Independent School Dining on behalf of the New Canaan Country School dining services team, which also includes Executive Chef William Barrera, Neville Brevitt, Marcos Delgado, Leslie Dingee, Jamila Malines, Yahaira Mendez, Santa Diaz, Sonia Santiago and Terry Wash.
The Pre-K through Grade 9 independent school, which opened its new Susan Haigh Carver ’51 Dining Hall in the fall of 2018, has been thrilled with both the renovated space and the dining service team, with many students, faculty and staff sending complimentary letters, emails – and a few drawings – to FLIK senior management, expressing their delight.
“The quality and variety of dishes served is outstanding,” said one long-time staff member, Pat Oakes, in an email. “In their ambitious menus, the team focuses on healthy foods, varying cuisines, delightful combinations of flavors and ingredients, delicious sauces and lots of choices. And all this is served with a smile! All of our Dining Services staff are outgoing, friendly people who clearly love their jobs, their boss, Carlos, and being members of our community. It shows in every interaction they have with students, faculty, staff and parents and in the care, they put into the food preparation and presentation.”
“I personally love Carlos and have been working with him for over 10 years,” said FLIK CEO & President Scott Davis who presented Carlos his award at the annual prize-giving event. “I was not at all surprised when I heard about the outpouring of praise from his school community.” This, along with Carlos’ adherence to FLIK best practices, a record for safety and implementation of new technologies brought him to the attention of FLIK senior management.
Mr. Caban, who has been at New Canaan Country School since 2014, says he experienced a range of emotions after learning that he, his team and the Country School account were singled out from over 60,0000 FLIK dining associates for the national recognition.
“To tell you the truth, I’m speechless. I love my job. I’ve been with FLIK for over 30 years – at a couple of different schools – and while they have all been great, the team I have right now is amazing. We are doing some great things here. I’m really, really flattered to be recognized in such a big way.”
Mr. Caban and his team feed approximately 568 students and 170 faculty and staff from 11:10 a.m. – 1 p.m. each school day. Lunch consists of a hot meal entrée, a hot vegetarian option, several side dishes from which to choose, a soup and salad bar, a deli bar and a yogurt and fresh fruit bar. Emphasis is placed on nutrition, daily choice and menu variety from week to week. It is also important to Carlos that the food is delicious even to evolving palettes. He and Chef Barrera take pride in introducing worldly dishes and flavors to even the pickiest of young eaters.
A recent days’ menu included pho beef broth, red curry chicken, sushi rice, baby bok choy, crispy tofu sticks, fresh fruit salad, mushroom lo mein and steamed buns. Another day of the same week, students had their choice of creamy corn chowder, pork carnitas tacos, pico de gallo, crema fresca, cilantro rice, roasted zucchini squash, garbanzo bean salad and southwest Caesar salad.
“Thank you for the yummy food,” said second-grade students who recently presented Mr. Caban and his staff an illustrated poster expressing their gratitude. It hangs, with pride of place, in his office next to the glass award that he received in Orlando.
New Canaan Country School is a co-ed, independent day school for students in Pre-K 9ages 3 & 4) through Grade 9. Located on a 75-acre campus in New Canaan, CT, the school serves families from throughout the region. For more information about the school, please visit www.countryschool.net.