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Oxford School District’s cafeteria staff receives healthy cuisine training

When Oxford School District students return from summer vacation, they may see some different lunch options when they walk through the cafeteria line.

Earlier this month, members of the OSD Café Teams received culinary training as part of the Good Food for Oxford Schools Child Nutrition program.

The school district has increased the number of scratch-made dishes served in the cafeterias and incorporated fresh and local ingredients. Child Nutrition Director Dan Westmoreland and OSD superintendent Brian Harvey submitted a grant to Move on Up Mississippi (MOUMS), in partnership with the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) to enable 30 district café team members to participate in the training.

Chef Robert Rhymes and registered dietician Bernadette Paul, Ph.D., led the two-day training session. Rhymes, of Clarksdale, has a B.S. Degree in chemistry and is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Chicago. He serves as the Executive Chef and Program Coordinator for Kaskaskia College in Centralia, Ill. Paul is originally from Guyana, South America and holds a master’s degree in food and nutrition and Ph.D. in public health.

The culinary training provided classroom and hands-on experience to the OSD café team members for learning healthy cooking methods. Preparation techniques, such as knife skills, and a variety of cooking methods were demonstrated and practiced. Techniques that yield quality products were learned in order to prepare recipes meeting the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.