LOSD welcomes new director of food services
Cristobal Castro wants to make food exciting for students.
Castro joined the Lake Oswego School District this past summer as the new director of food services. He hopes to implement new events and activities for students that broaden their perspectives on food. He takes inspiration from previous experiences he hosted at his prior schools, which had large success amongst students.
A Southern California native, Castro moved to Arizona to pursue a bachelor's degree in nutrition dietetics from Arizona State University. He originally set out to be a registered dietitian, but after an insightful conversation with a professor he realized working in school nutrition would be the most rewarding.
"It sounded like a good route for me because I can actually work with elementary kids, middle school, high school, and teach them proper eating habits and how to make good choices with meals," he said.
After college he pursued a career working in K-12 food services in Arizona and was hired on as the Lake Oswego School District director of food services this summer.
"You are who we have been waiting for," said School Board Chair Kristen Aird at the Oct. 25 board meeting.
However, one of Castro's main goals is to do what is best for his students by providing healthy, and nutritious meals that expand their taste buds.
For first to fifth graders, Castro hopes to introduce cooking classes that will allow children to explore industrial kitchens and learn how cooking equipment functions. During the cooking classes, primary students will also create their own food like smoothies or pizza.
"With this experience, you're able to teach them about the ingredients that you're using," Castro said. "Like with pizza, we learn what the sauce is made out of. And more than tomatoes, they learn that tomatoes have certain vitamins in them and more. It's just a fun experience."
For secondary students, Castro plans to host food tasting events and invite vendors for students to sample diverse foods. Students will try food from different regions, like Peru or Italy for example, and complete a survey on what they thought of the foods. This data will be collected and help the food service department curate menus based on student feedback. Lake Oswego High School had a food tasting event in the first week of October, and Castro said it was a hit among students.
Other future plans involve outdoor grill cookouts, where students can see and smell the foods before diving in. And further down the road, Castro hopes to purchase a food truck to use during lunch service.
"Both are fun experiences and build a good atmosphere amongst students and with food," he said.
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