April 29, 2021

Kitchen Prep with Jaime & Chris

In a place like Southern California that is home to so many hospitality groups and food providers, finding a partner to complement Oakwood’s visions for our new state-of-the-art kitchen and servery would require research, site visits, focus groups and more than a few meals along the way.

Jaime Dominguez, Head of School, and Chris Thomas, Chief Operating Officer, set out to visit several other schools in the Greater Los Angeles and Orange County area to visit their cafeterias and meet with food providers at independent schools, all with the goal of finding one who could nourish Oakwood students with fresh and healthy meals, and with a commitment to building strong bodies and sharp minds. 

After much deliberation, Jaime and Chris decided that Flik Hospitality Group would be the ideal partner for Oakwood based on their commitment to scratch-made, locally sourced food and their ability to customize menus in ways that aligned with our healthy eating principles. Their focus on fresh, scratch-made, healthy, and locally-sourced food will surely be an excellent addition to the Oakwood community.

We seek to enhance the quality of life for the entire school community by implementing responsible, environmentally sound programs that engage students, staff, and faculty. Mindful of the cultural and dietary preferences of a diverse campus environment, our on-site management team creates menus exclusively for each location. Our director of wellness and corporate executive chef review menus and provide culinary and dietary expertise so that students explore diversity through foods and learn the importance of making healthful choices that influence a lifetime of smart eating.

FLIK independent School Dining Philosophy

The Oakwood Kitchen begins its final weeks of construction as spring turns into summer. New furniture and sitting areas are already coming into place at the secondary campus and in classroom C, every floor, ceiling, and wall has been transformed—or removed altogether. But without a doubt, construction has faced its fair share of challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also due to the building’s age, the Oakwood Kitchen’s scope of work grew to include necessary upgrades such as installing brand-new ADA-compliant restrooms and an entirely new fire sprinkler and alarm system. 

Oakwood’s new state-of-the-art kitchen, servery, and dining area covers 1,800 sq ft. Due to its constrictive space, Chris Thomas worked to engage architect consultants, Brenda Levin with Levin & Associates, to study building capacities and best determined maximum output to ensure flow. Chris’s previous work experience with food service spaces has also been a big help in making improvements to function and design. 

Despite the challenges, the new Oakwood Kitchen will result in a safer and more up-to-date building, making way for what will be a dynamic and inviting space to gather.

Although permitting delays have set back plans by more than a month, Oakwood anticipates the project to be completed in June. Oakwood will soon embark on the journey of hiring a chef and staff. When complete, the brand new kitchen will support meal prep with state-of-the-art equipment and staff to serve it efficiently in a bright, airy, open-plan servery that will be ready to serve students at both campuses in the fall.

After over two years of planning, the Kitchen Project is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2021.

It will take the collective generosity of our community for this kitchen to become a reality. Please join us with a gift to this momentous project today!

Click here to see renderings of the new space, building updates, and to learn more about how the food program is shaped by principles of health and sustainability.