It’s been almost three months because Robin Lawton got here to Northeast Placement Services to oversee the culinary program called “A Cut Above.”
Her days consist of developing breakfasts and lunches for workers, individuals, and a few software contributors. Using vegetables and spices from NEPS’ lawn and working within time and budget constraints, she can carry this system to exist.
“A Cut Above” gets NEPS participants to paintings with easy elements to create wholesome meals and snacks. On July 23, Dave and Ed helped make vegetable snack cups with carrots, cucumbers, and ranch dressing. The cucumbers were homegrown. The carrots have been saving offered. The two guys positioned several cups on a tray, protected them with Saran Wrap, and supplied them for sale to NEPS staff members for $1 every.
Lawton has a meal service history with stints at Marriott International and a public faculty device. The work at NEPS has been the most profitable with the aid of some distance, she said.
She instructions a 260-square-foot kitchen, complete with stoves, stages, a freezer, and fridge, and all the accouterments a chef may want. Here, she trains individuals who want to work inside the culinary discipline.
“A Cut Above” is presently a training software. However, NEPS Executive Director Timothy Kettle expects it to grow. Recently, he positioned out a note of opportunity with the Department of Developmental Services, telling them there are openings in the NEPS software. He’d like to attract a few more people to the program to make it self-maintaining.
Kettle believes the right goal for NEPS is all approximately locating what’s a hit for every person.
“You need to locate something they’re a success at,” Kettle stated. “You try and find out what makes it paintings for them.”
“And you do that by way of just running with them,” Lawton said. “The longer you work with them, the greater you determine out what works.”
Success isn’t measured merely in how rapidly someone can make a sandwich, a vegetable snack cup, or prepare dinner French toast. It starts offevolved with taking orders, with pronouncing good day and good-bye to human beings. It method getting used to opening and remaining doors civilly and telling a person to have a good day. It approaches getting ready some part of a meal or snack, after which deliver it to the staff member who ordered it.
The breakfast sandwiches that morning had been with eggs that Dave cooked and toast that Ed buttered. Lawton oversaw the manufacturing and meeting. She is careful no longer to trade the way the meals are provided on plates.
“The presentation is so much,” she said. “The maximum vital issue I’ve discovered is that I don’t exchange something.”
Maybe a sandwich is on one aspect of the plate, and carrot sticks are piled on the alternative. Maybe French toast is situated facet via side and now not one on the pinnacle of the alternative.
“I permit it to go the way it is due to the fact they take pleasure in it,” Lawton stated. “If you exchange it, it’s no longer their manner anymore.”
Everyone has their favorite meals, their favorite snack, or breakfast or lunch meal.
For Betty, it’s making cookies. For Ed, it’s breakfast sandwiches. Dave likes pizza. But regardless of what the menu calls for, there’s pleasure within the introduction. Fruit pizzas, garlic bread, meatball sliders, and pasta salad have all pop out of “A Cut Above’s” kitchen. Participants have baked cupcakes, cookies, and pastries. They’ve made out of cinnamon, Elmer’s glue, and applesauce.
One younger guy has even built up a dog biscuit business called Ron’s Rover Treats. The treats are made using all herbal elements like peanut butter, pumpkin, pork, and chook. He almost offered out of product at a recent canine adoption occasion at Frog Rock in Eastford. A place dog groomer buys the treats in bulk and gives them out as treats to his canine clients.