Freshmen not only new addition to the lunch room

Lucia Sandberg

Rachel Hertzberg '15, Contributing Writer

This year, the upper school gained a new executive chef, Paul Babel, whom I met with in his office by the cafeteria. “My opinion of the Blake lunches is [that] you guys get a lot more choices than other schools, and that adds to the color and nutrition,” he says.
Babel spent six years at the Blake middle school, and he’s excited to be able to serve food that younger students won’t eat. He says upper schoolers are willing to try a variety of foods, and this allows him “to add some more color” to meals. Babel has worked at Taher Food Services (the company that provides Blake’s food) for eleven years. Before that, he was a chef at the Eden Prairie City Center.
Blake lunches are “a lot more nutrition oriented” than at other schools, Babel says. “They are a rarity because of all the choices.” For instance, his daughter, who goes to school in Hopkins, sometimes comes home hungry because her school lunches don’t have anything she will eat.
Asian is Babel’s favorite style of food, and in the upcoming year, students may see evidence of his love for fresh flavors. “I like Vietnamese style. Fresh mint, fresh lettuce, star anise.”  Many students have already noticed how Babel enjoys mixing unexpected foods, for a fun effect.  Examples include a dish with both plantains and beef, and a lunch that included Chinese peppers and broccoli knishes.
Babel reflected on how he became a chef. “When I graduated high school I knew already I wanted to be a chef, so I became acquainted with the food service industry at seventeen, eighteen years old. I expected I’d have to work really hard,” says Babel. “It’s really hard work, [but] really fun.”

New Head Chef Paul Babel grills many delicious steaks for lunch in the Otis Courtyard.