Hot Lunch Program
Limoncelle Catering History:
Peggy Yeghiazarian has been our school chef since 2008 providing nutritious lunches to our students. Peggy is a certified ServSafe food handler from the county of Los Angeles. Additionally, she has completed some programs at local colleges and is continuously taking classes and seminars to upgrade her skills.
Limoncelle Catering Mission:
Limoncelle catering emphasizes on providing healthy alternatives for the students. Our school herb and vegetable garden has been created as an additional educational tool to use fresh herbs, spices and vegetables in daily cooking. The foods are sautéed, baked or roasted versus being deep fried. The sauces are prepared with fresh ingredients. Each lunch includes a side of salad, or cut vegetables, and/or fresh fruit.
Limoncelle Catering Services:
Salem Lutheran School offers a "Hot Lunch" program Monday through Thursday. This program is also one of the most important fundraising programs for the school and the 6th grade class. By purchasing hot lunches for your child not only will you save time in packing lunch boxes every morning, but you will also help our 6th graders to raise money for their trip to Washington DC.
Each month the students will bring home a lunch menu with variety of choices to be pre-purchased for that specific month. We ask parents to make their selections and send a check payable to "Limoncelle Catering" along with the bottom portion of the menu to their child's classroom teacher before the deadline stated on the menu.
Additionally, students who are also signed up on the milk program will receive a carton with their meal on a daily basis.
Our garden started in 2009 with the help of some volunteer parents and it has been continuing ever since. The fresh herbs have been introduced to the students and are being used in daily cooking and sauces. The students most favorite herb is rosemary, which they love having on their oven baked potatoes. The tomato garden is a big hit as well, and gives us an enormous amount of tomatoes. The students experience fresh tomatoes cut into their salsa and salads.
The art of food program:
Two years ago, Salem’s art teacher, Ms Joanna introduced a program in which the students make a visual image of a food item (i.e. salads, sandwiches, etc.). Then a menu is chosen and it’s re-produced in the kitchen. The students get to learn about different nutrient values that are in that recipe and observe the preparation techniques. At the end they get a chance to taste.
Out of this program, different ideas are produced and various items get added to the hot lunch menu. Last year, the students experimented with various salad recipes, in which some of the lettuce and tomatoes were picked from our garden.
This year’s edible art project was sub sandwich and several students have requested to introduce this item on the hot lunch menu. Also, some of our students had observed the preparation process, asked about the exact ingredients and went home and reproduced the recipe. They reported that it was very delicious.
Most popular menu items:
Limoncelle catering’s goal is to provide healthy menus for the students. Sometimes we have to get some help from pre made items, but they are always supplemented with fresh ingredients and herbs. Our mac-n cheese sauce contains pureed yams and carrots. Our marinara sauce always has pureed tomatoes, fresh herbs, garlic, and honey. Our homemade mashed potatoes are prepared with whole milk, butter, and cream cheese. Our salsa has fresh chopped tomatoes, pepper, green onions and cilantro. Our side rice is prepared with chicken broth and butter.
Every month we try to introduce a new item or salad to the menu. We like to listen to the student’s comments, and re-introduce the new item one more time before adding it permanently to the menu. Our goal is to satisfy most student’s needs and palates by providing popular homemade dishes or side items.
At the end of each school year we conduct a survey of our top 5 most popular menu items. They are as follows: chicken patty sandwich, chicken nuggets, hot dog with potatoes & homemade chili, fresh grilled hamburgers and spaghetti and meat balls.
Students/parents comments & feedbacks:
Our students constantly give us feedback and ideas. The ones that are most feasible, get incorporated to the hot lunch menu. The tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich was a student proposal and it has been one of our most popular menu items. Through out the years, the parents have called and inquired about the secret of the soup. Fresh grilled hamburger was another proposal from our students, and once a month we take out our grill and barbecue the hamburger patties. The whole neighborhood knows what we are serving on that day.
Some items are loved by certain palates and some are not. In May we introduced fresh grated carrot salad with raisins. Some students loved it and were asking to have it more often. We will re-introduce this salad next year again.
Our side salad is prepared by finely chopping or grating different fresh vegetables with lettuce, and is served with dressing on the side. As a result, some of our students have become fond of sweet bell peppers and parents have shared their positive comments on this new addition.
Our salad bar is continuing to increase in popularity, especially the marinated chicken strips with the side of pita bread and butter.
Another popular menu item that was proposed and introduced this year was beef soft tacos. Each student receives 4 small corn tortillas warmed up and wrapped in foil. They are also given sautéed beef with taco seasoning, cooked pinto beans, shredded lettuce with chopped tomatoes, and side of shredded cheese and sour cream. It is amazing to watch how the younger student’s hands roll these ingredients into mini tacos. Not only it introduces them to a variety of tastes it also fine tunes their motor skills by using their fingers.