The kitchen is in the works
Thank you for your letter to the editor. We appreciate you bringing to light some of the misconceptions and deficiencies surrounding the Aspen Middle School cafeteria. While we do have a cafeteria for the students to eat in, we do not have a full commercial kitchen. The middle school kitchen is a satellite kitchen, or warming kitchen.
Throughout the planning stages for the middle school kitchen, Lilly’s Valley was excluded from any discussions pertaining to equipment needs. Last spring, we were able to view the four kitchen configurations under consideration. Some of those configurations did not include a commercial dishwasher, garbage disposal or stovetop. We expressed our concerns to the district, but our requests went unheard. Because of construction-related delays, we weren’t given a kitchen that was ready for use. The school district did not have measures in place for food to be safely transported from the elementary school kitchen, where it will be cooked, to the middle school. The County Health and Natural Resources Department would not allow us to use the new middle school kitchen until the school district could assure them that those safety measures were put in place. We did not receive approval until late Thursday, Sept. 6. During the first two weeks of school, we served an outdoor lunch to the middle school children, barbecue-style, while we transitioned to a the new AMS kitchen.
At this time, we are still waiting on a few other items to be remedied so that we can fully use the new middle school kitchen. Therefore, we are asking for a bit more patience as we await the installation of a commercial dishwasher and garbage disposal. The dishwasher is potentially slated for instillation during the December holiday break. The garbage disposal, though, does not have a scheduled instillation date. During this delay, we will serve lunch on foam trays. Some of you have expressed concerns that this does not comport with our school’s LEED certification. We need to use a material that will not disintegrate when filled with hot, moist foods. We do not have the resources to hand wash the approximately 400 trays that are used daily by our middle school kids. Once the new dishwasher and disposal are in place, we will return to using plastic lunch trays.
Finally, we would like to thank all those involved who helped us with our transition. Your added assistance was invaluable.
d.b.a. Lilly’s Valley L.L.C.