Art Chin, long-time chef and restaurant owner in Dayton and Tipp City, checks food being prepared as part of his new job in the kitchen at Broadway Elementary School in Tipp City. CONTRIBUTED

Popular local restaurant owner retires, joins school cafeteria staff

Chin operated Chin’s in downtown Dayton followed by Chin’s Ginger Grill and then Greenfire Bistro in Tipp City during his more than four decades in the restaurant business. He sold the business this year to former employee and Tippecanoe High School graduate Adam Berning.

Although he left behind the long hours that go along with owning a restaurant, Chin said he wasn’t ready to stop work entirely.

TRENDING: Navy’s Blue Angels to perform at 2020 Dayton Air Show

When he saw an opening for cafeteria manager at Broadway school, he quickly applied.

“This job came along and it is the perfect job for an old cook like me. I still get to do a little cooking, obviously, but I get my weekends off, my summers off,” he said. “When you work as hard as I have and as many hours as I did a day, you are not going to lay around the house.”

His hiring this summer by the Tipp City Exempted Village Schools Board of Education brought an enthusiastic response from those at the meeting, and from Chin, who said he was excited for the opportunity to continue work in the community.

He filled an opening created with the retirement of Judy Dungan, long-time Broadway kitchen manager, said Gary Pfister, Tipp City schools’ director of services.

TRENDING: Deadline to register to vote is Oct. 7

Chin is one of five kitchen managers in district buildings. The managers are responsible for developing the menu and preparing meals daily with assistance from other kitchen employees.

“They are all well versed in the USDA requirements and make sure each day’s menu meets those requirements and, most importantly, is a menu that the kids want to eat,” Pfister said.

Chin said the experienced managers have been a big help to him in learning about the regulations and adjusting to budgets available for meals.

“They have been a big help to me to transition from private industry to this,” he said.

“I am not cooking anything different than what anybody’s cooked over the years. I am just trying to incorporate more fresh vegetables, more fresh fruits, less frozen items.”

He also turned to his young customers, distributing a survey in the early days of the school year to get an idea of what vegetables interested students. The survey listed several and invited responses of “like,” “dislike” and “not sure.”

TRENDING: THE BIG REVEAL: Rolling Indulgence to unveil its new food truck at Warped Wing event

Tomatoes, corn, carrots and green beans drew the most positive responses.

Chin also visits with students daily in the lunchroom. “I go while they are eating. I treat them just like they were my customers at the restaurant. I don’t treat them any differently,” he said.

He hopes to educate the students a bit on foods and to also help increase the number of students who buy school lunches.

Chin said he enjoys the job so far and doesn’t miss the long hours at the restaurant.

“I miss my clients. A lot of them became my friends,” he said.

The school job also is a way for him to give back to the community and the schools, which his two daughters attended.

“This still gives me the opportunity to cook. I don’t get tired of cooking,” Chin said. “I have been doing it so long, I don’t know what else to do.”

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.

X