Matt Reffitt is Shelterwood’s new director of food services, responsible for keeping our students fed, fueled and healthy. Matt trained at The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago and created in a wide variety of kitchens (hotels, restaurants, fraternity houses, and summer adventure camps) before arriving at Shelterwood this month.
”I really enjoy feeding kids and making a difference through food,” Matt says. “I feel like God has called me to Shelterwood.”
Only a few weeks into his new position, Matt says he is grateful for Shelterwood’s supportive leadership, welcoming spirit and faith-based approach to work and life.
“I don’t know if you’re familiar with kitchens, but they are not the most positive environments to work in,” Matt shares. “I really enjoy being able to be open with my faith and having that loving, nurturing environment here.”
Matt’s previous experience at a summer adventure camp in Boulder prepared him to serve a wide variety of special diets, from vegan to gluten- and soy-free. He is leaning into his new role and relishing the challenge of adding more farm-to-table ingredients and Brain Balance-compliant meals into the mix.
“What Brain Balance is trying to do is eliminate all ingredients that don’t help your brain develop,” Matt says. “No refined sugars or stuff out of a box. There’s a lot more love and cooking involved!”
Matt is looking forward to making new connections with farmers and sourcing more regional, seasonal ingredients to add to Shelterwood’s current rotation of local providers. He’s also hoping to grow fresh herbs for the kitchen next spring by getting Shelterwood’s greenhouse back up and running. Once he’s settled into his new role, he’d also like to offer cooking classes.
“I know not a lot of kids have the same opportunities I did with home-ec classes in high school,” Matt says. “I’d really like to focus on the basics.”
Outside of work, Matt loves listening to music of all kinds, going to concerts, and hanging out with his three-year-old daughter. That focus on family fits right in with his passion for creating a family-like atmosphere in Shelterwood’s kitchen.
“You can minister through dining together,” Matt says. “That’s where we all come to eat together. We share our day; we share our experiences…These kids need love, and my way of showing love is through great food.”
Want to learn more about how Shelterwood cares for the whole student? Talk to one of our admissions counselors about our holistic programming.