Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Chef Michael Smith is the most popular person when he visited Brunson Specialty School and talked to students about food. (Photo by Brad)

Chartwells Thompson Executive Chef Michael Smith with Brunson School Dining Manager Brenda Grisby and her food service staff. (Photo by Brad)

Executive Chef Michael Smith answers nutrition questions from Brunson School students in the Café of Distinction. (Photo by Brad)

    Just weeks after the grand opening of the Café of Distinction in Milton Brunson Specialty School, 932 North Central Avenue, Michael Smith, Executive Chef for Chartwells Thompson Hospitality paid a visit to the school to talk with students about their dining preferences and developing healthy eating practices. He was accompanied by Kristie Atkinson, Manager of Retail Operations for Chartwells Thompson, and Robin Garcia, Merchandising Manager. Chartwells Thompson provides the food for Chicago Public Schools cafeterias, trains school food service staffs, and maintains standards of operations in school lunchrooms.
    Chef Smith says he enjoys coming out to schools and talking about food preparation with students. “It gives me the opportunity to hear what they like and don’t like about the food we serve. Often, I get ideas from students that we can incorporate into the menus,” Smith observes.
    Kristie Atkinson and Robin Garcia explain that it doesn’t help to serve nutritious meals if the children aren’t eating them. “They are our clients,” Atkinson declares, “the same as if the school was a hotel or cruise ship. We want the students to be happy and satisfied with the product we provide.”
    Garcia adds, “That is why we are particular about the décor and cleanliness of the lunchroom and the way in which the food is served. We want the students to have a pleasant dining experience.”
    Chef Smith spoke with several girls about nutrition issues and with Brunson kindergarten students about their favorite foods. He also toured the kitchen, observed food preparation, and spoke with staff about their concerns.

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