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Celebrity chef to cook, teach at Frontier in fish product promotion

HAMBURG — On Wednesday, November 13, Frontier Central High School students, staff and administrators will get an up-close and personal view of the talents of celebrity chef Marco Suarez, who will play a key role in helping to promote the district’s new, unique and healthy fish product on the school’s lunch menu.

Suarez, a Boston-area chef who has been featured on the Food Network’s reality series “Chopped,” will be present behind the serving lines at Frontier High for lunch starting at 9:40 a.m., appearing in three of the four regularly scheduled lunches. He’ll also be volunteer teaching two classes in the newly constructed Home Economic room with a cooking demonstration of two large fresh salmon for students’ viewing privileges. Pupils from the Home & Careers department, as well as study halls and other available venues, are invited to attend.

The fish is described by district Food Service Director Sue Birmingham as fillet breaded with a crunchy sweet potato coating. Birmingham added at the school board’s November 5 meeting that the November 13 presentation is a prelude to a new fish sandwich being offered at Frontier, an initiative that will include a variety of sauces. It’s also a way of promoting fish as a food item in Frontier, according to the longtime food service director. The overall implementation is also part of national school meal nutrition standards spawned by Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign.

“I tried the fish, and I really liked it,” said Birmingham, who participated in a previous taste test of the seafood.

High Liner Foods, described as the leading North American processor and marketer of value-added frozen seafood, is the originator of the fish product aimed for K-12 and health care food service segments. High Liner is additionally offered to bring in Suarez as a celebrity chef in a heightened attempt to market and sell fish to district children. Food service staff from each Frontier district building will receive complimentary aprons as part of event giveaways.

The fish promotion is described as an ongoing initiative to implement healthy eating for students, accompanying a push for vegetable and whole grains consumption. The health-conscious national effort also includes cutting back on fats and beverages high in sugar.

Suarez, the executive chef at the popular Canary Square Restaurant in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, debuted on ‘Chopped” in 2011 on the Food Network.

In other meeting action, the board approved a resolution to abolish a 1.0 FTE account clerk position in the Frontier Educational Center/Business Office. The move follows the accompanying retirement of longtime Account Clerk-Typist Elizabeth Newman, whose departure was announced at the November 5 meeting. Frontier Central Teacher Association President Laura Haas stated during public comment session that eliminating essential clerical staff positions is detrimental to the functionality of the district, due to existing staff being forced to take on more duties while not being compensated for doing so.

“Less staff means less productivity,” said Haas, who added that cutting a laborer position at a district elementary school from eight to four hours has adversely affected cleanliness capability at that location.

School Board President Janet Plarr said the elimination of the account clerk position was discussed during budget planning for 2013-14.

School Business Manager Richard Calipari praised the work of Newman, who had served in her district capacity since 1993.

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