New lunch director encourages feedback

Following many years of advancements within the POD, Shorewood School District has a new lunch director, Brittany Kolarik. Kolarik hopes to bring a wide variety of lunch options for all students.  

The menu options at the POD have expanded over the past few years, with items including quinoa, chicken panini, multiple types of salads, and more. 

“We’re starting off with making a lot more choices for the kids, it’s not just going to be one hot item or two cold items; we do multiple sandwiches and a couple different salads every day,” Kolarik said. 

Kolarik studied culinary arts and business marketing in Wisconsin, and moved to California to do an internship at Disneyland, where she was a cook for their winery. She has worked in Brown Deer and Mequon school districts, but is new to Shorewood. 

I want them to know that they’re heard with me… that their opinions and voice matter,

— Brittney Kolarik, Lunch Director

“Everybody is so welcoming,” said Kolarik. “I just adore everyone here, I’ve had so much fun and the students are wonderful.” 

The compost bins placed in Shorewood Intermediate School make Kolarik proud to work at Shorewood. She admires how consious students are about sorting through their garbage to make use of the compost bins.

“I love that and I think that’s amazing to teach at such a young age. You don’t see that with everybody in the world right now,” said Kolarik. 

Kolarik encourages Shorewood students to voice their concerns, requests, and things they would like to see changed about the POD. She has an ‘open door policy,’ where students can come to her and tell her exactly what food they want to see, and how they want their lunch to be managed. Kolarik plans on using the feedback she receives from students to form a menu that students are pleased with. 

“I just want the kids to be heard. I want them to know that they’re heard with me, and that I see them…that their opinions and voice matter,” Kolarik said. 

She also plans to post a QR code for students to scan and anonymously tell her how they feel about certain foods, and their opinion on the lunch offered at the Pod.

“So that’s kind of what I want to make sure that kids understand, that I’m here to work with them. I’m not here to slop some food on your plate.”

Kolarik hopes to bring a change to the stereotypes of school lunch, and acknowledge how students feel about what’s being served to them. Having worked in the food industry for 17 years, nutrition has become a big part of her identity. 

“You’re not going to focus on school or doing anything if you don’t have solid nutrition,” Kolarik said. 

With this in mind, she plans to expand the menu to incorporate more fresh fruit and protein made from home. She also hopes to bring in some popular dishes from her previous experience working in a restaurant. 

As for the menus themselves, Kolarik has widened the amount of meals students get to pick from. 

“We have about 10 different meals every single day at the highschool, going down to the middle school we have 7-8 meals everyday, and then in the elementary schools we’ve got about 3-4.” 

Kolarik believes that as students age, they need a wider variety of lunch options, and choices that suit their individual needs. 

Currently, Kolarik works for a company called Aramark. Becoming the Director of Food Services has been a long time goal of hers. 

“I’ve wanted to work my way up in Aramark, and get to this position, where I am the director of food service, and I’m so happy to be here, I just adore this school,” said Kolarik.

She looks forward to forming personal relationships with the students she works with, teaching them the value of nutrition, and creating the menus and meals that students deserve.