Our Food Philosophy
With the first week of the last month upon us, we get ready to wrap things up (literally), reflect on the last 365 days, and begin setting new goals and intentions. One of Cater to You’s (CtY) goals for 2019 is to share our story and our food philosophy a little more often in the genuine hope that we can continue spreading better-for-you food goodness to even more school children. Interestingly, despite many changes in culinary nutrition through the 30+ years we have been serving students, the one thing that has remained steadfast at CtY is our commitment to providing children with the healthiest, most delicious food possible.
It all began 30 years ago when Kathryn and Anthony Trentacosti founded Cater to You Food Service in an effort to provide quality, healthy, tasty food to school children, based on the same philosophy they instituted when cooking for their own two young children at the time. They believed then, as they do now, that the best meals are prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients from local producers and growers. Fast forward, today students and staff at the schools we serve enjoy meals prepared fresh daily, from scratch, utilizing premium ingredients, and served by our highly trained, dedicated, and personable staff.
However, it takes a lot to make that happen and begins with the vendors we select and our uncompromising procurement strategies. We feel strongly that transparency matters. We pride ourselves on equipping our chefs with ingredients that not only taste great, but are as clean as possible. We put a lot of time and effort into sourcing and procuring the products we use in our kitchens. And, rest assured, we never sacrifice quality for cost. When it comes to local we recognize that this means not only our network of farms, but also the community we are serving—whether that means buying bread from a bakery around the corner or exploring neighborhood specialties. We make regular visits to vendors—both new and existing—to ensure that quality offerings are in place. It’s easy to take claims and promises at face value, but we take time to make sure that our manufacturers and suppliers are actually providing what they say they are. And, we stay on top of emerging health and nutrition trends, as well as supporting studies, so that we can adjust our procurement standards as necessary.
To break it down even further, here is a list of current standards we uphold for the quality products we serve and procure:
From scratch cooking; nothing is ever canned, frozen, or pre-made. That means we even make our own dressings and cut our own fruit!
No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) and 100% vegetarian feed for the animal proteins we offer.
Milk contains no growth hormones (rBST), no pesticides or insecticides and comes from a local creamery.
Eggs are from certified humane and pasture-raised hens that roam freely and forage outside.
Fish is selected from Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch recommendations.
Produce is sourced seasonally and locally first before we venture out.
Snacks and condiments contain minimal ingredients and never contain high fructose corn syrup, food coloring, carageenan, or other offensive additives.
Beverages include filtered water, seasonal fresh-made agua frescas, and fresh-brewed iced teas that are organic, fairly traded, and caffeine free.
Dessert options often include iced fruit bars made with just three ingredients: water, fruit, and a little organic cane sugar.
Bread and bakery items are delivered fresh daily from a local source that is also certified nut free.
As we move into a new year, we will be highlighting some of the vendors we use to supply our amazing ingredients, and shed more light on why we devote so much time to selecting just the right better-for-you components. Here’s to a happy, healthy, and tasty New Year!