Chef Chris Avtges, the food and nutritional services director for the Vernon school system, isn't promising anything like the episodes of the Food Network Show "Chopped" he was in.
But the school lunch menu is changing.
And a sneak preview of the October offerings he showed off on Monday looks pretty tasty.
There is a trick to it, a balance of federal guidelines, personal touches, what can be made in what school kitchens and a partnership with The Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Avtges said he is up to the task.
"Let's just say this will not be your grandmother's meatloaf," he said with his trademark laugh.
Avtges said he plans on phasing in the new offerings with the new menu making its debut at the elementary schools in October and at Vernon Center Middle School and Rockville High School in November.
The pair of hot selections currently offered each day will be gone, he said. One hot selection will be offered along with a sandwich and salad choice, he said. The safety valves yogurt/muffin combo will likely be eliminated, he said.
For example, on Oct. 15, the choices will be a teriyaki chicken wrap, turkey, ham and cheese on wheat, chicken salad and tomato soup.
He said about the old stand-byes - the toasted cheese sandwich will be cheesier, the popcorn chicken will have more pop and the sloppy joes will be, well, tastier.
"We are trying to build the menu while addressing the special dietary concerns of each student," he said.
That brought him to the meatloaf. To take care of gluten issues, he is substituting the old bread crumb seasoning with oatmeal.
The ramped-up meatloaf will be a Wednesday offering, the day not only the Avtges specials will be showcased, but recipes from celebrity chefs like Rachael Ray and Lorena Garcia, partners with the alliance, will be on the menu.
Other Wednesday entrees will be pasta al forno, orange chicken and turkey tacos.
Avtges said he may even dabble with the fish taco.