//PICTURED ABOVE: a SAGE Dining Services salad bar during lunch. Photo by Kelsey Chen.
SAGE Dining Services, the company that puts food on everyone’s lunch plate at Hockaday, advertises “fresh produce, antibiotic and hormone-free milk, all-fruit smoothies, and no added MSG, trans fats, frozen or canned soups or vegetables.”
Beyond the healthy lunch options their poster advocates, SAGE does much more: sourcing products from local vendors, providing three meals a day to resident students, and educating the Hockaday community to eat nutritious meals.
SAGE must adhere to strict guidelines regarding where the food is from and how it is handled. The catering company partners with local vendors to support the community, sourcing dairy from Oak Farms, meat from Crystal Creek Cattle Company and produce from Hardie’s Fresh Foods, all of which are located in Dallas.
“They are trying to get [Hockaday] the best products, the best quality, the best cost,” Ryan Messina, food service director for SAGE at Hockaday, said.
With a main menu, a build-your-own salad bar, various daily soups, and fruit-infused spa water, SAGE also offers a variety of food for students during lunch. While catering to over 1,000 students and faculty every day, SAGE partners with the boarding department and hopes to work with the athletic department beyond lunch.
SAGE serves roughly 1,700 meals per day, including those for boarders. “They’ve given us a better dinner than last year,” resident student Barbara Lou said, “they give us more options.”
On the other hand, resident student Annabel Symington prefers the breakfast. “I’ve got to say, SAGE here is a lot better than the SAGE at my old school,” she said, “especially in regards to breakfast.”
On Sundays, SAGE serves brunch at 11 a.m. for boarders instead of breakfast and lunch. While this is beneficial to those who sleep in, brunch poses a challenge for boarders who wake up early and have to wait for food.
“If we don’t eat brunch, we have to starve until dinner,” Lou commented.
Often, Symington has swim practice from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday. “I wish they would do some sort of cold breakfast in the morning for people who have to get up. Otherwise, I’m going to Starbucks for breakfast,” she said.
On Sundays when she doesn’t have practice, Symington enjoys the late breakfast, which offers Starbucks frappuccinos.
SAGE also communicates closely with the boarding department on special dining events, working with the Director of Residence Life, Gary Stollar, on custom menus. Some multicultural dinners from the 2017-2018 school year included a Day of the Dead Celebration, a Hawaiian Luau and a Texas Barbeque. This year, SAGE will have a Chinese New Year celebration meal.
The catering company also plans to work with the Hockaday Athletic Apartment on a new initiative, the Performance Spotlight Program, for athletes. The program hopes to focus on education, specifically how to fuel our bodies for optimal athletic performance.
“[SAGE] is big on education,” Messina said, “This will help with all our sports, all our activities, everything that we do outside of school or job.” They are working with school faculty to customize menus for particular groups and events.
“We are always striving to enhance menus either through the introduction of new menu items or themed meals,” Messina said. SAGE’s next task: buying costumes and planning a themed meal for Halloween.
Story by Kelsey Chen