Pat Teague is the district’s Executive Chef, a position she earned after taking a job as a School Chef in 2013. Pat has many years of experience ranging from opening a restaurant and hotel in DC, serving as a Chef Instructor at both Essex and Champlain College for nine years, as well as many years as the Chef for Camp Kiniya in Colchester, Vermont. Pat holds a degree in Art Studies from Radford College.
She put her artistic skills to good use with a successful wedding cake business for six years, making artisan cakes for clients such as Top Notch Resort, Edson Hill Manor, and Burlington Country Club. Pat works in all our district schools to implement cross-training as well as cohesive policies and procedures. Pat implemented new menu concepts at Burlington High School such as stir fry, pasta, burrito stations, extensive grab and go Salads and “Bowls” a grill station and catering menus. You can find Pat sailing on Lake Champlain on her J29 and spending time with her two dachshunds and yellow lab. And yes, Pat does like to cook at home!
RAPID FIRE Q&A
At the High school, we have many concepts going on a daily basis. We have an Asian themed cook to order stir fry line twice a week. An Italian themed cook to order Pasta line once a week. A Tex Mex Themed create your own Burrito line once a week and an American Grilled Chicken and Burger line once a week. Each allows the customer to individually choose exactly what they prefer to go in their lunch. On each line, we offer over 9 different vegetables and toppings. For example house made pesto, local marinara, local VT beef, local tomatoes, kale, carrots, potatoes, squash, melon, strawberries and even local hot house greens are offered daily. Each school has a fresh salad bar. We are heavily involved in the Farm to School program, which allows us to offer such local items. We enjoy creating house made salad dressings that include ranch, Caesar and VT Maple balsamic.
I am an avid reader. I have also been to seminars and food shows and come up with a version of concept that I feel would be a good fit to our schools. I never know where or when I will be inspired. Usually when I have an idea, I research various sites related to my idea, I write it up and then pitch it to a coworker. This is when I like to brainstorm with a teammate. After I put a concept in place, as a team we tweak and develop it as we perfect it with customers. I am also a visual person, so I like Pictures in Food and restaurant articles.
Working in a school environment, we have to be health conscious 100% of the time. We also deal with allergies and dietary restrictions and preferences. We have Vegan and Vegetarian options daily. The fact that we have the ability to work with such wonderful produce is certainly an influence on our menus. I feel that our menus are vegetable and fruit heavy. We have recently put a conveyor belt oven in our sandwich bar station. This allows us to heat the product without adding any oil or pan spray. It make for a clean, healthy and hot end product. The customers can then add their choice of a bunch of fresh veggies. It has amazed me, the amount of vegetables and fruit the students enjoy. We have been offering tofu for at least 4 years and 25% of the population look for it to be offered daily.
This year I implemented a grab and go “bowl”. The initial idea was a Buddha Bowl which includes meatless mushroom meatballs, Quinoa, Roasted Vegetables and Miso Dressing. Also a Hippie Bowl which includes Vegetable fried rice and teriyaki chicken, shrimp or tofu. These are already popular, but I feel that the idea will grow. I am feeling that ethnic breakfasts are up and coming. For instance Sushi rice with a poached egg, caramelized onion and crunchy noodle topping. Curried Hollandaise. Fluffy Japanese pancakes with spicy Vt Maple syrup. I also Feel that Fresh Bread will be big again.
|In relation to items I have mentioned above, I am able to create a sustainable menu. One of my favorite things to do; each morning as I am putting away the order, I see what we have left from the previous day and create the special hot wrap, soup, salad and Grab & Go “Bowl” for that day. I have created the menu, specifically to use what we had on the cook to order menu the day before. For instance, we offer Chicken, Tofu and Shrimp Grab & Go Caesar Salads the day after Stir Fry. We can offer Mac & Cheese bowls after Pasta Day. We can make an awesome Burrito the day after make your own Burrito day. Soups are really the most fun because we may have leftover roasted Vegetables along with all of the above. When we have catering, which tends to be often, this opens a whole new window of items, extra or leftover to use. An Obvious one would be banana bread with on the edge Bananas. We can use the banana bread on catered events, but mostly we like to offer it as a gift or have at a meeting. This is a staff favorite. Have I mentioned that the BHS staff Loves to eat at the high school. Each day they make sure to have their lunch together at 10:30, plates loaded with various foods that are ready to serve on our line for 11:00. This is a good sign to me!|
I am inspired and motivated by fresh fruits and vegetables. I chose the Curry because I love the layers of flavor in the individual vegetables and spices. I also love texture in foods. If the Dish seems to have a soft texture, then I would put a crunchy garnish on top. I like to make something out of nothing. It’s very satisfying to me to be able to create something delicious “out of my hat”. I chose the banana bread because it has the simplest ingredients, but it’s how you actually make it that counts. I’ve seen this same recipe turn out differently with each individual who makes it. Proving that technique does in fact play a big part in cooking. In each of the recipes I chose, it is imperative that you take care.
When In my 20’s, After college, I really enjoyed the restaurant business. It was my Aunt who encouraged me to apply to The Culinary Institute of America. At first I hesitated because I did not think there could be women Chefs! I quickly changed my mind and went. One of my first jobs out of school was working for a Pastry Chef in Washington DC. Deiter Shorner was an Outstanding German Pastry Chef, who I feel I got much of my work ethic from as well as learning how to make very tasty pastries. Later, When I was the assistant Pastry Chef of The Mayflower Hotel in DC, My Chef Jack Wich was a great inspiration to me and taught me how to make Wedding Cakes. These cakes enabled me to start my own Business and career. Years later, when I started working for the Burlington School District, I was apprehensive to work in the school system after all my experience in restaurants, hotels and colleges. However, I went into it with an open mind. Doug Davis, who is the Food Service Director, saw my potential and trusted me. Consequently, he rapidly gave me more and more leeway to try new recipes and concepts. He has been incredibly supportive in my endeavors and enabled me to use my voice. I feel he is very proud of what we have been able to accomplish over the past 6 years, I know I am.
My growing confidence in what I do. Through failure in parts, I have learned to grow from them. I love the feeling that I am able to try new recipes and concepts. When they are successful, it’s the best feeling. When they are imitated, I feel empowered.
I feel that I have the ability to create an awesome team. I feel respected and
in turn, respect them. Human Resource is certainly a daily challenge, but our work environment is a nice one.
Having the opportunity to use and show off my talents, especially being Female, has been a huge accomplishment. Because Doug Davis has given me this chance to shine, I have been able to feel like I really challenged and put myself out there to be a success. I am without a doubt fulfilled in my career
A few of meals stand out. Once, on Long Island Sound, where I grew up, my husband, Children & I watched as a Huge swordfish came in fresh off the boat. We Bought a piece of it and grilled at the beach. Just Butter and Lemon, Wow. Another was simple Fish & Chips and a Lobster roll outside on the Cape. The third is recently in NC we had Charbroiled Oysters and Sweet Tea. A new love was found.