Oskaloosa Schools Names New Director of Dining Services

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A new chef is leading the food service program at Oskaloosa Schools this year and will usher in a new vision and opportunity for students and staff meals. 

Most recently, Oldes served as the executive chef of One Eleven Public House in Knoxville, Iowa. There, she oversaw recipe creation, menu planning, food costing, and managing a cooking team. Oskaloosa locals also may recognize Oldes as the former executive chef and owner of On the Green, which has new ownership and is now known as Wood Iron Grille.

As director of dining services, Oldes has already been actively involved in her first major project: leading the Oskaloosa Summer Lunch Program.

“Being my first significant project in this role, the summer lunch program has provided valuable insights into the processes and procedures of my position, while also giving me the opportunity to connect with the community. We are more than just food service providers—we are active members of this community.” Pam Oldes, Director of Dining Services

Throughout her leadership of this year’s summer lunch program, Oldes has been dedicated to improving the quality and freshness of food items for the community. With the support of numerous volunteers each week, she has made significant improvements to the summer program and is enthusiastic about enhancing the opportunities for students. Her plans for this school year include incorporating more locally grown items from farms and increasing participation through community outreach events, such as at the local farmers market.

Oldes has outlined three primary goals for her position: implementing chef-inspired scratch cooking for the meals provided by Oskaloosa Schools, incorporating locally and regionally grown produce into the district’s menus, and enhancing the overall quality of ingredients.

“We are impressed by the impact that Pam Oldes had on our summer lunch program, and we are confident that she will continue to improve our food service practices this school year. Her passion and expertise from her work in the food service industry will help us revitalize the meals we offer to our students and community, continually improving and adopting new, mindful tactics and living our mission and vision.”  Mike Fisher, Superintendent of Oskaloosa Community School District

Additionally, Oldes aims to implement district-wide food share and food donation programs to recover and redistribute edible surplus food. One such initiative involves creating a “sharing table” at the schools to combat food waste and distribute food outside of the meal program, for use in locations such as the nurse’s offices or for after-school activities.

“My vision is to create a culinary program that transcends conventional school dining, inspiring a generation of conscious eaters who understand the true origins of their food.” Pam Oldes

Oldes’ educational background includes a culinary arts degree from Stratford University, along with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and public relations from Coe College. Since 2010, she has been an active member of the “Let’s Move” initiative and attended the program’s opening ceremonies at the White House, which played a significant role in shaping her future as a dedicated chef and business professional. Oldes is married and has a child attending Oskaloosa Schools.

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