Chef A.J. Moll Cooks Healthy Meals for Students
We all know that getting kids to eat healthy food can sometimes be a challenge. Canteen Chef A.J. Moll accepted the challenge and is on a mission to cook nutritious meals and snacks for the students at his school. To top it off, Chef Moll makes sure his recipes are delicious while educating kids on the importance of fresh and healthy ingredients. Join us as we talk with him about his role as a chef at Canteen.
Hi Chef Moll! We are excited to have you on the Canteen blog. Tell us how you got started as a Chef and what brought you to the Jewish Community School?
M: Thank you for having me. My professional journey started with retail grocery in the deli/seafood/bakery department. In the 90’s, grocery stores were just exploring “home meal replacement,” and I began as an apprentice cook preparing American fried food and Asian food to-go. Everything was made from scratch, and I honed my skills. From there, I joined the Army and graduated from the Quartermaster Culinary School in Ft. Lee, VA in 1998 as class valedictorian. When my Army service ended in 2003, I went back to retail grocery where I worked my way up to Corporate Trainer. In 2008, I started with Flik as a grill cook and was promoted to Lead Cook/Sous Chef. In 2012, I moved to Canteen Dining at Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School.
Wow, what an incredible path you’ve taken. We’re so glad you’ve made it to Canteen. What is your favorite part about serving the kids at Saul Mirowitz?
M: Two things. First, I am the father to two children at the school. One in 4th grade and one in 7th grade, which is great. Second, I love serving the Jewish community and putting to use my knowledge of kosher dietary laws. I also absolutely love getting younger students onboard with healthy eating.
When creating and researching recipes, what do you focus on the most?
M: Our program’s guidelines are fresh, local, kosher, and exceeding USDA guidelines. The foods I enjoy the most are local and seasonal and many of the students agree. I’m committed to providing healthful meals. For example, my pizza includes ingredients like fresh focaccia, natural kosher cheese, corn syrup-free tomato sauce, and fresh herbs from our school’s garden. Pre-pandemic, I hosted in-person culinary classes for the students where they learned about benefits of certain ingredients like kale, got hands-on experience prepping recipes, and tasted the final product. Sometimes I’d put the recipe on the menu for the next month!
We need a taste of that pizza! Can you explain why it’s important that the food you cook is kosher?
M: Jews believe that kosher foods nourish our souls spiritually and we fulfill the commandments in doing so. Many folks, including some Jews, have a misconception that kosher foods are healthier. In truth, we keep kosher dietary laws for the aforementioned reasons.
Do you have an easy recipe parents can make with their kids at home?
M: This Buffalo Tofu Salad is a big hit! Here’s an IGTV video where I walk through it step by step.
Thanks for joining us Chef Moll. We’re looking forward to trying your Buffalo Tofu Salad.
The focus on health and wellness in the workplace, at home, or at school is a top priority. At Canteen, we are committed to offering programs that focus on healthier, delicious options that promote active lifestyles while helping people make informed choices.
Canteen delivers culinary excellence to guests at corporate workplaces, manufacturing companies, college campuses, and organizations of all sizes. Infusing the best wellness and sustainability practices, seasonal and authentic ingredients ensure we serve delicious meals every time. With Canteen as your food service company, we’ll create dining experiences your guests love. To learn more about our dining program, visit canteen.com/dining.