From the omelet stations for breakfast to the crowd favorite General Tso’s chicken for lunch, and the many gourmet options in between, the SAGE Dining Food Service at Saint Andrew’s gets an A+.
SAGE, which is based in Maryland, has had a strong 27-year partnership with Saint Andrew’s School largely due to high-quality company standards. Another aspect that has contributed to ongoing success for Sage is its deep connection with the community and its values.
“We never forget that we’re a vendor here and we have our own mission statement. But what makes us excel at the food service we provide here is that we feel like we’re part of this community,” remarked Chef Yoni Maestro, outgoing Director of Food Service.
SAGE regards its contract with Saint Andrew’s School as top tier. It makes sense then that SAGE is promoting Yoni Maestro to be the District Manager for SAGE Dining. In his new role, he will continue to oversee Saint Andrew’s, as well as attempt to impart some of that special Scots and SAGE synergy with other schools in the state.
Saint Andrew’s School and SAGE Dining wish to welcome Eric Morales as the new Food Service Director. Eric comes to SA with an impressive resume and background in culinary arts management, having worked for notable companies like The Ritz Carlton and most recently at Boca West Country Club as the Executive Sous Chef.
Eric joins a skilled team who cares deeply about serving Saint Andrew’s School. “Honor is central to Saint Andrew’s code of conduct. But over the years, it has become a part of SAGE too. It speaks to us,” said Yoni.
The Honor Code has really transformed the added value SAGE Dining delivers to this community. “We don’t yell at each other like you see on TV - like a Gordon Ramsay style kitchen,” said Yoni.
It’s also the people delivering on the Honor Code that have made a difference for Sage at SA. “The team has blown me away from the time I started here four years ago,” Yoni commented. “The longevity is remarkable. We have staff here that have been at Saint Andrew’s for over 20 years.”
In line for lunch at Mariani Great Hall? Watch for Wendy. His affable attitude lights up the room. “Wendy’s rock solid in the kitchen and always gives the very best service to what he calls his ‘customers’. He’s always so positive,” said Eric.
Waiting for a scoop of pasta in the Weprin Family Student Center at the Lower School? Irmine delivers with a smile. “Irmine’s our most veteran SAGE employee. She’s been at SA for 23 years. It’s her amazing attitude and the way she takes ownership of her station that’s special,” Yoni remarked.
Employees like Wendy and Irmine care about SAGE and Saint Andrew’s. “We have thirty team members here, and I could talk on and on about each one,” said Yoni.
SAGE’s value is also in the systems, policies, and tools it has in place as they create menus, manage allergens, oversee dietary requirements, and regulate food safety, sanitation, training, and purchasing.
SAGE also cares about educating the community on nutrition. The nutritional value of menu items
is showcased on tablets, on the online menu, and on digital menu boards. It’s called the Spotlight Program. Yoni noted, “It uses colored dots - red, green, and yellow - and is designed to educate about what people should eat more of, less of, or in moderation.”
SAGE is very mindful of those who have allergies or dietary restrictions as well. “One of the most important steps in our menu creation is when we send out menus to dietitians for feedback and approval,” revealed Yoni. Dietitians and chefs have created the Allergen Filter based on the twelve most common allergens.
The way to utilize the Allergen Filter is to go the online menu
and click to activate the filter. Then it will highlight whichever allergen you have. The allergen filter and tablets are important, but nothing beats correspondence between the Director Chefs, students, and their parents. “We want you to come in and meet us. We want to get to know one another on a first name basis, and talk about the allergen,” said Eric.
That face-to-face meeting becomes an essential first line of defense. The second line of defense is the tablets, and the last line is the individual signage. “At the end of the day, we want the entire community to know that there are no hidden allergens in anything,” said Eric.
In the same way that students get a problem wrong or fall short on a test, and learn from mistakes, SAGE chefs also know that if a dish doesn’t go well, it’s a learning moment. Failing forward is a founding principle that guides their daily practice. “Our goal is to deliver our very best food for you, and to strive to be better each and every day.”
Click to view the latest SAGE Menu
. Bon Appetit!