Statehouse Shake-Up | Food News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Statehouse Shake-Up 

Side Dishes: Legislators get local lunches

Published November 28, 2007 at 12:23 p.m.

Visitors to the Vermont StateHouse Cafeteria this week will notice a few changes. The kitchen has been refurbished; there are new carpets. Even the marble has been polished to a new luster. But the most substantive adjustment is to the food and the people who make it.

Between November 2003 and November 2007, FitzVogt, a dining-service provider based in Walpole, N.H., managed the lunchroom. But when it came time to run for re-election, the company lost out to a Vermont-based biz, the Abbey Group, headquartered in the tiny Franklin County town of Sheldon. The AG employs about 250 staffers in schools and businesses throughout the state, and, according to VP of Operations Scott Choiniere, is responsible for feeding 25 percent of the state's elementary and high school students.

"We've been awarded the [StateHouse] contract for the next three years," boasts Choiniere. "We had the better package, evidently." One possible deciding factor: "We specialize in buying local, as close to Vermont as possible." He also notes that the AG used to cook for Vermont legislators before the larger FitzVogt came to town.

"We have an almost exclusively Vermont supply, but not totally," Choiniere says, noting that diners will feast on local products "from A to Z." These include the usual suspects, such as milk, bread, eggs and cheese, as well as condiments, candies, mints, pickles and pies. The cafeteria will have two homemade soups, a salad bar, a deli station and one to three "chef-created entrées" each day.

The AG serves breakfast and lunch to politicians and plebes alike - the eatery is open to the public. But, Choiniere warns, "It's really hectic when the legislature is in session."

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Former contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the first Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a goose, butcher a pig, make ramen from scratch, and cook a scallop perfectly.


Comments are closed.

From 2014-2020, Seven Days allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we've appreciated the suggestions and insights, right now Seven Days is prioritizing our core mission — producing high-quality, responsible local journalism — over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2023 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation