Flik Team Makes Adjustments During Online and Return To On-campus Learning


Alex Levitt

Flik served chicken tikka masala on Thursday, Jan. 13 using ingredients from last week’s deliveries. This week, Flik used a similar menu to the week of Jan. 2 in an attempt to incorporate leftover ingredients due to online learning. Staff Photo: Alex Levitt.

Lizzie Freehill, Staff Writer

The decision to hold school remotely the week of Jan. 2, as well as the prior consideration to hold school remotely the week of Jan. 9, has left the Flik staff with excess ingredients.

The announcement that school would be held virtually the first week returning from the holiday break was sent in an email by Menlo School on Jan. 1. The meals and ingredients had already been prepared as Flik plans their meals one and a half to two weeks in advance, and the company places orders for ingredients and produce a week in advance. 

With only some faculty and staff on campus, Flik had to make 200 lunches instead of the planned 1100. “We have a food delivery for 900 extra people, so we’re trying to spread it out to see what we can use and what we can freeze to use for next week,” Director of Dining Services Thien Hoang said.

Due to the unpredictability of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, Flik is working to create more freezer space that will not only help with the current week-by-week structure but supply chain issues in the future. In the meantime, Flik donates leftover unprepared foods to the San Jose Food Bank, and prepared foods to Trinity Church in Menlo Park, according to Hoang. 

Flik preserved a large portion of ingredients that came from deliveries on Wednesday, Jan. 6 and Thursday, Jan. 7, excluding fresh produce. Due to these excess ingredients, this week’s menu is similar to the menu served to faculty on campus last week. The foods with short shelf lives that were unusable for the current school week were donated on Friday, Jan. 8.

To preserve much of last week’s ingredients, the Flik staff had to take extra steps, such as marinating meats. This early preparation created less need for food preparation and deliveries this week.

With students on and off-campus throughout the week due to positive COVID-19 tests, exposure to COVID-19, etc. Flik is preparing 80% of their usual lunch. “We’ve had this contingency plan in order so that we’re doing 20% less production, but then we have a backup just in case, for some reason, a lot of extra kids come,” Hoang said. “We put out something else so that if we run out of a certain item, we can run to a different item for the entree.”

During the upcoming week of Jan. 16, Flik will prepare more meals, reducing the estimate of students off-campus due to COVID-19 safety precautions to 10% rather than 20%.