by Sara Young, Prepared Foods Manager
Using quality ingredients and several healthy dashes of creativity and dedication, our experienced team of deli cooks makes all the delicious food in our deli case, hot bar, soup bar, and grab-n-go cases from scratch in our kitchens. Our goal is to offer something delicious to satisfy most every Co-op shopper, regardless of allergies or other dietary needs. Ask for a sample if you want to try something new!
I arrive groggy at 6 am, one hour after the kitchen crew arrives. They have been busy making sandwiches for all three Co-op locations, including the amazing bakery cafe on Holly Street.
The Cordata kitchen buzzes with activity an incredible 17 hours a day.
The kitchens are led by Chef Kurt Stauber (Cordata) and Kitchen Manager James Aikins (Downtown). The combined experience of the kitchen crew numbers over 200 years and the result is a menu that is widely varied and delicious. Paul Manthe, a cook with the Co-op for over 20 years, brings with him a recipe catalog so vast it is not a stretch to say that in those 20 years he has still not used all of his recipes.
Kurt Stauber, Cordata kitchen manager
James Aikins, Downtown kitchen manager
Paul Manthe, Downtown cook
Chef Kurt Stauber brings with him the skill and expertise of a trained chef, and the boundless energy of a puppy dog. He does everything he can to mentor his team, while James Aikins provides a steady, calm energy and knowledge of the Co-op deli history to help drive menu selection.
The deli crew is continually working with Kurt and James to improve and perfect the deli recipes and create new recipes that will bring new life to the entire menu.
The food in the Cordata and Downtown hot bars (and salad bars) is almost entirely organic—it’s a distinction that we are quite proud of and one that we share with you by highlighting every organic ingredient on our daily hot bar menus.
On the hot bar every Friday is the amazing Chef’s seasonal special, and this is where deli cooks create new and exciting recipes under consideration for rotation in our permanent offerings. I would go so far as to say that if you can try the Co-op hot bar any day, Friday is the day to do it. It is like getting a peak behind the kitchen door, to the heart and soul of the food production operation.
To be sure, this is not your typical hot bar, usually laden with heavy carbohydrates and empty calories.
This is an organic, high-protein, veggie table of delight that is unlike any other hot bar in the region.
And I am the person who is lucky enough to oversee this operation, this team of highly passionate and skilled workers; a group of people whose standards have inspired me to expect miracles.