Dragon Dining: Fostering Life-long Healthy Eating
A much-loved and central part of the YIS community is the Dragon Dining cafeteria, where the standard for school food is raised to a delectable and contemporary level. In the mood for a buddha bowl with fresh hummous, falafel, large olives and plenty of healthy greens? Or Indian delights like a creamy palak paneer, chana masala and pilau complete with naan, papard and fresh coriander? Fancy a rosemary and lemon chicken with roast potatoes? Perhaps a broccoli and whole-grain crust quiche suits your vegetarian tastebuds?
The gastronomic delights are as varied and unique as the 11 staff of Dragon Dining. Hailing from Brazil, the Czech Republic, England, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, and Nepal, the team makes all meals from scratch on site using largely organic ingredients - all meats, fruits and vegetables are sourced from organic suppliers in Japan. All baked goods, such as bagels, the popular Dragon Roll sausage rolls and pastries; sandwiches, granola, desserts and hamburgers are also handmade on site.
The attention to food quality and nutrition arises from Dragon Dining's philosophy of sustainable, healthy food, sourced locally to foster life-long healthy eating habits. Posters in the cafeteria indicate and describe their suppliers, many of which are family farms scattered around Japan. Dry products, such as lentils, granola and speciality flours along with olives, dates and other items are also available for purchase. All members of the team keep a close eye on what and how much students eat, sometimes limiting what students choose if it seems unhealthy. Unlike many other schools that charge for second servings, Dragon Dining provides free second servings, opting for moderation in serving sizes to reduce food waste, but encouraging a healthy appetite if students need more.
To foster food knowledge, they also offer cooking classes for the entire community. Students learn to cook a Moroccan stew, parents roll and bake baguettes, staff make a variety of baked goods. The chefs explain what yeast does, why letting dough sit for sometime is important and the nutritiousness of handmade bread over store-bought bread. The Cooking Academy ESA provided after school is one of the most popular activities among ES students. Some vegetables and herbs they use are grown on campus in collaboration with the Garden Club.
The food from our cafeteria adds plenty of anticipation to our community's day. Dragon Dining also provides the food at on-campus functions such as PTSA meetings, teacher conferences and events at the Tanner Auditorium. We feel better when we see what is offered; we are sated after eating the colorful, mouthwatering food. It adds to our quality of life, and works intricately with our mission of Live Learn Lead. Come celebrate food with us when on campus; you'll be glad you did.