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Different look, improved menu at East Union

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Different look, improved menu at East Union

Liz Salaiz gets food in order minutes before the start of the second lunch period.


POSTED October 31, 2009 2:53 a.m.
Sometimes a remodel can completely change the way that something operates.

After more than 30 years of serving Manteca Unified students, East Union High School got a complete remodel of their kitchen that not only made it modern but drastically altered the way that students utilize the cafeteria.

Where other high schools use cruiser carts to spread out the students over a wide area, East Union maintains a “deli line” style counter with different lines for different foods that are served up according to the menu for that day. The school is split up into two lunch periods so that the cafeteria can handle the traffic.

According to Satellite Kitchen Operator Anastasia Yager – an 11-year veteran of the Lancer kitchen who is now in her first year as the chief operator – the student body has taken to the changes in not only the layout of the cafeteria but the menu changes that became part of California law last year.

“It’s definitely a whole lot different than it was before the kitchen was remodeled,” Yager said. “But we get a lot of students that come through here at each lunch period, and breakfast is really popular here as well so we know that students are still using the cafeteria like they always have.”

Last year East Union was the pilot school that first introduced 8 ounce bottles of water as an alternative to milk and juice that students can take with their meal – something Yager said become extremely popular in the late summer when school first started and the mercury was still above 100 degrees.

The program was so successful that is has since been implemented at all five Manteca Unified high schools.

But while the menu and the nutritional guidelines are pretty much set in stone across the district, not everything that is popular at one school is going to be popular at another. Individual sites get their own chances to change things up based on what students find savory.

“On top of serving regular side salads we also make pasta salad an available option, and we have a station that serves chicken ranch flatbread that is a really popular choice among the students,” Yager said. “But just like in most places, the most popular thing that we’re serving everyday is still pepperoni pizza.”
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