Warren “Chef D” DeShields started his career in cooking at the Academy of Culinary Arts, where he was trained in classical French cuisine. After graduation, Warren worked in restaurants and hotels before settling in as the Executive Chef of a catering hall that serviced Head Start centers during the day. That early introduction to feeding children led him to school food service as the high school cafeteria manager of his alma mater, where he applied his culinary skills to enhance a commodity-driven menu. His passion for feeding students and serving the Bridgeton community where he grew up has led him to the position of Food Service Director and an award-winning foodservice program. Chef D’s 20+ years in school food service have afforded him the opportunity to serve on local, regional and national boards that sponsor food safety, food systems and professional development.
Warren’s work as a foodservice director has been documented in several national magazine articles highlighting his leadership of a school nutrition hub that includes two greenhouses and several school gardens throughout the district. He is responsible for leading 78 employees in feeding breakfast, lunch, dinner and after-school snacks to more than 6,000 students daily, in addition to participating in the fresh fruit and vegetable program and the summer feeding program. He instituted the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) to remove the cost factor and stigma surrounding serving no-cost meals in the community.
When Warren is not traveling nationally to promote all things school nutrition, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Jennifer, and three sons, Jaelin, Solomon and Jared, along with Kingston, the family dog.
Areas of Business Responsible For: Staffing, finance, operations, procurement, hiring
What Do You Bring to the Role: I bring a classically trained culinary background to our foodservice department.
Education: Travel and watch history documentaries.
What You Do in Your Free Time: Travel—I enjoy “getting out of town.” That might mean weekend getaways or longer extensive vacations two to three times a year.