I write with the bittersweet news that our chef, Joe Petriello, “Chef Joe”, will be leaving Harding Academy to take on a more expansive role with his company, Flik Independent School Dining. Joe will be heading down the street and taking on the Senior Chef Manager and Dining Services Director roles for Christ Presbyterian Academy. Additionally, he will be Flik’s Regional Financial Trainer for Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida. Joe’s last day will be this Friday, February 16. I apologize for the ultra-quick turnaround here, but, unfortunately as a third party, Flik does not work on the same timeline as we do in schools.
Please join me in congratulating Joe on his promotion and newfound responsibilities. I know we are all proud of Joe, but in situations like these we also struggle with saying goodbye to someone who, in this case, has been much more than our chef. Over the last six years, Joe has embodied the kind of leadership and service we look to develop in our kids. Not only did he take pains to make our menu as healthy and delicious as possible, but he knew every student’s name that walked through his lunch line. Joe has been in grade level and all school plays, led the Harding Academy cooking team, been on the sidelines of games, played in faculty/student volleyball and basketball games, performed during assembly with the band, and engaged fully in the life of the school outside of the cafeteria. And so, while we wish him luck, we will also cherish the memories.
We are left in very capable hands, however, as our new Chef Manager will be Danny Klages, who has worked with Joe since before they arrived together at Harding Academy six years ago. Danny is a true professional and takes great pride in providing high quality food. In fact, it has been Danny who has been cooking almost all the meals during Joe’s tenure, so we should expect that same high quality to continue. The rest of our Flik staff will remain in place as well, so we are thankful for that continuity.