Flik Independent School Dining Awarded Top Honor for 2010 Whole Grains Challenge

by NYC Firm Schools on December 8, 2010

Flik Independent School Dining, foodservice provider for over 120 independent and Firm Schools nationwide and 18 across the five boroughs, won the Grand Prize amongst all categories of foodservice of The Whole Grain Council’s 2010 Whole Grain Challenge. Two New York City schools managed by Flik took home the top prizes in their categories. The Jewish Theological Seminary tied for top honor in the College and University category and the Village Community School tied with another Flik-managed school for the top award in the K-12 Firm Schools category.

“For the past decade our food and nutrition philosophy has incorporated the highest menu planning standards, with a specific emphasis on serving whole grains regularly,” states Raymond Mulligan, President of Flik Independent School Dining. “There is a common belief that students won’t eat whole grain dishes. But from what I’ve seen, this isn’t true; if students weren’t eating whole grains, we wouldn’t serve them as often as we do.”

According to Susan Cooper, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Specialist for Flik Independent School Dining, “The key to getting kids to eat whole grains is providing them with opportunities to sample varieties they may have never tried before and then continuing to serve them until it becomes a familiar food. We do this in many ways, including: conducting a ‘Nitty Gritty on Grains’ food demonstration in the cafeteria; incorporating whole grain dishes in our semester Traveling Flavors booth menus and; implementing classroom nutrition education.”

Dietary changes happen when the whole grains message is reinforced both at school and home, and the best way to achieve this is by serving similar dishes in both settings. Ray Mulligan encourages parents to ask their school’s chef for recipes to prepare at home. When students are exposed to whole grains at home they are more likely to eat them at school, and vice versa.

The winning chefs of the 2010 Whole Grains Challenge share the whole grain dishes their independent school customers love:

Asian Wheat Berry Salad with Carrot and Ginger

Joseph Landa, Flik Independent School Dining Executive Chef for The Jewish Theological Seminary, holding a platter of Asian Wheatberry Salad with Carrot and Ginger

  • 3/4 cup wheat berries
  • 2 ½ cups water


  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. Sriracha sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp. fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, julienned
  • ½ cup green onions, julienned
  • 3 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and julienned
  • ½ cup grape tomatoes, halved

Cook the wheat berries by simmering them in the water for about one hour. Drain excess water. Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Toss with the cooked wheat berries and remaining ingredients. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, so flavors blend before serving. Serve at room temperature.

Canadian Black Wild Rice and Cranberry Salad

Canadian Black Wild Rice and Cranberry Salad, prepared by Erasmo Mejia, Flik Independent School Dining Executive Chef for the Village Community School


  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 lb. Canadian Black Wild Rice (or other long grain black wild rice)
  • ½ cup zucchini, diced
  • ½ cup yellow squash, diced
  • ¼ cup red pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup green pepper, diced
  • 1 medium red onion, diced


  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh garlic, chopped

Soak the dried cranberries in room temperature water for 1 hour to rehydrate. Boil rice until tender, approximately 1 hour. Cool the rice by running under cold water. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a metal bowl. Add the diced vegetables to the dressing and allow vegetables to sit for 20 minutes. Once the rice has cooled, mix the rice, cranberries and vegetables together and serve.

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