Although our name may suggest that Mission is merely a restaurant supply company, in reality, that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Over the past 29 years, we have grown into a full-service dealer serving all kinds of food service businesses, from hotels to hospitals, C-Stores to supermarkets, bakeries to bars, and casual to fine dining restaurants.
Additionally, one of the largest sectors that we work with is schools, including both kindergarten through 12th grade and colleges & universities.
We are very honored to work with independent school districts across Texas, one of which includes Austin Independent School District (AISD). Chef Louis Ortiz is the Executive Chef at AISD and a great friend and partner of our team.
Visionaries like Chef Ortiz are bringing wonderful things to the food service industry. At AISD, he is mixing things up by implementing a fresh, holistic, scratch cooking approach to the world of cafeteria dining.
He and his team in the Nutrition and Food Services Department are working diligently to put flavor and diversity back into cafeteria food while giving students a more diverse array of menu options.
Inspiration for this initiative struck after Ortiz conducted a survey amongst 300 middle school and high school students, the results of which found that kids were looking for more varied culinary options. It also found that students had an increased interest in ethnic foods.
Consequently, Ortiz’s menu options, which change daily, have become more experimental, with an emphasis on healthy flavor profiles and local ingredients from Johnson’s Backyard Garden, not to mention an authentic presentation of dishes from all over the world.
“Forging those relationships, to me, that is just part of being human and doing good business with people.”
Vegetarian menu selections are also available daily on all AISD menus. These furtive efforts bring a new understanding to “Farm to School” cooking, a philosophy that is gaining popularity and momentum in schools across the state and the nation.
Behind all this rests the idea that more thoughtful, quality, nutritious meals and food preparations will fuel the well-being and learning potential of kids in all levels of academia.
Furthermore, through this process the cafeteria becomes an extension of the classroom, teaching kids more about nutrition, seasonal ingredients, and overall health and wellness.
Chef Ortiz knows very well that these progressive initiatives can make a difference when applied to an organization the size of Austin ISD.
“When you look at a school district the size of AISD you are looking at 114 cafes that serve 130 campuses, which totals out to 700 employees, which further equates to 80,000 meals a day and 13,000,000 meals each year,” said Chef Ortiz. “What that says to us,” he adds, “is that we have to look for ways to make ourselves more efficient.”
Our team at Mission Restaurant Supply has helped equip Chef Ortiz with the tools needed to achieve that efficiency. “Using our established relationship, we have gotten wonderful smallwares and equipment that have helped us achieve that goal,” he said.
Some of Chef Ortiz’s favorite Mission items that he uses on a daily basis include:
- this Digital Portion Control Scale by Taylor Precision,
- this Infrared Thermometer with a Laser Sighting, and
- this 3-Stage Electric Knife Sharpener, which keeps his cutlery in tip-top shape.
We are honored to help a leader such as Chef Ortiz with the tools he needs to succeed, and we are humbled to be a small part of his mission: helping prepare and serve quality, scratch cooking to the next generation of leaders.
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Check out other industry partners in our In Their Words Video Series.