Camp Interlaken Hires a New Food Service for 2016!

I am proud to share that the Steve & Shari Sadek Family Camp Interlaken JCC has hired Express Food Service to run our camp’s kitchen this summer!  Express Food service is owned by Kevin Forman from Ottawa, Canada.  Since 1997, Kevin estimates that he has served 4.5 million kosher, summer camp meals.

Kevin FormanI spent the entire fall interviewing and vetting four different camp food service providers.  I met in person with each vendor, and I spoke at length with their references (including other past and current camps) to ensure I had all of the information possible to make the most informed and smartest decision for Camp Interlaken.

Without question, Express Food Service and Kevin Forman earned our business. Their references were exceptional, especially from my colleague, Terri Grossman, the Director at Camp Sabra, the JCC overnight camp of St. Louis:

“At Camp Sabra, we have worked with Express Foods for over 10 years.  In our annual post-camp survey, our campers and camper families have consistently rated our food as excellent.  The customer service responsiveness to our kids during the summer is quick and kind.  Our kids know and love our kitchen staff!  Any issue has been dealt with quickly and thoroughly.  We are really happy with Express Foods!”

Express Food Service is well known for their chicken burgers made with ground, white meat chicken breast.  They also make all of their own bread, and I am most excited for their individual challah rolls for Shabbat.  Kevin’s homemade cookies are famous in all of their camps.  He makes oatmeal chocolate, chocolate chip, double chocolate, shortbread, and, my favorite, snicker doodles!  Kevin promised me that their homemade muffins would become a favorite breakfast for many campers.  I am very excited that Express Food Service is bringing our camp family many homemade food items this summer.

With an 80% staff retention rate, Kevin hires an experienced and professional staff to run his kitchens.  Kevin will kick off the summer in Eagle River to set up our kitchen and ensure that all of the appropriate systems are in place.  He will then spend about three to four weeks at Camp Interlaken to make sure that our campers and staff are served the highest quality, most consistent and healthiest food.

Last summer, we created a food committee in the middle of second session with a male camper and a female camper representing each unit.  This committee met with our head chef and me after lunch each day to debrief the previous three meals and talk about the upcoming three meals.  We will again convene a camper-led food committee this summer, and we will continue to keep the campers engaged in the conversation with our food service so that they can have a direct and positive impact on their meals.

Though ending our eleven-year relationship with our previous food service provider was difficult, it was necessary.  Meals are an integral experience at camp, and providing our campers (and staff) with quality and healthy meals is one of my highest priorities.  I look forward to a new relationship with a vendor who has a proven track record within the Jewish camping community, an owner who values the taste and healthfulness of food, and a professional group of chefs who will feed our campers and staff with their hearts!

As always, Camp Interlaken will continue to be a nut-free, kosher Camp that provides gluten-free, vegetarian and dairy-free options.  We will continue to do our best to accommodate other dietary restrictions on a case by case basis.

I look forward to sharing many yummy meals with our campers and staff this summer!