TROY — Troy City Schools’ new Director of Food Services Clint Hufford has the challenge of feeding 2,400 children five times a week and has added a little more “kick” to their cafeteria trays.
Hufford, a native of Versailles, was hired this summer after Sharon Babcock’s retirement. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a degree in human nutrition.
Hufford said he has always had a passion for nutrition and healthy living, which led him to his career in school food management. “I’m excited to be here,” he said. “I have a great staff. I love that my office is in the schools to get feedback from the kids.”
Hufford got his start in school nutrition as a consultant for the state of Tennessee in the city of Knoxville school districts over the course of four years. “I was able to get baptized into school food service that way,” he said. “I absolutely loved it. I learned a lot from working with different directors down there and just seeing a lot of different schools, so it gave me a lot of ideas.”
Hufford said he and his wife, Abby, wanted to move back to their home state of Ohio after starting their family. Hufford was hired by Fairborn City Schools before finding his way to Troy City Schools this year.
“Health has always been important to me. I’m a pretty healthy guy and I’m active, so the health aspect has always been important to me and trying to eat healthy. Especially with younger generations, it’s fun to get them to eat healthier and to provide them things they want to eat that are healthy so that’s where it’s a fun challenge,” he said.
“Being in a school district working with them and listening to them and trying to get them healthy choices, but also give them things they’ll actually eat. If they don’t eat anything, then it’s counterproductive at the same time.”
From the South, Hufford brought chicken and waffles as well as some spicy options like Sriracha-spiced wings and Asian-inspired foods like orange chicken and General Tso’s chicken for kids to enjoy.
“Kids are just like us — they eat with their eyes first. If things don’t look appealing, they’ve already made up their minds, so it’s a fun challenge,” he said. “High schools kids love the spicier things like the Sriracha-spiced wings.”
Sophomore Andrew Fogt dishes out his feedback on the regular with Hufford, who greeted Fogt with a fist bump. Hufford said he likes to check in with students on menu changes.
“I like the sweet potato fries. Those are good,” Fogt said. “The chicken and waffles, that was my favorite so far.”
Hufford enjoys exploring the bike trails, and running 5Ks and half-marathons. His wife also enjoys keeping an eye out for healthy food options for Hufford to add to the Trojan menu.
The Huffords reside in Tipp City with their daughter, Harper.
Follow Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews
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