of a thousand miles
begins with one step
Ingenious Culinary Concepts Chief Innovator, Kern Halls has a long and diverse track record of success in food and beverage industry.
Starting as a culinary specialist in the United States Navy, Kern finished at the top of his class earning him accelerated advancement for his rank as well as a recommendation to work at Camp David.
Kern has worked on ships that carried a range of 300 to over 3,500 servicemen. He was amassed (in civilian terms “employee of the month”) for 6 months in a row. He has cooked for dignitaries from other countries and has been awarded numerous accolades while serving his country.
Upon returning to his home state of Florida, he was employed by Walt Disney World working as a front-of-the-house manager. He was responsible for managing two separate restaurants averaging $18 million dollars in sales year annually.
In Kern’s second year at Disney he was nominated for the highest award an employee can earn, the “Partners in Excellence” award. At the time, there was a three-year tenure requirement. So, after his third year, he was nominated again and won. Kern implemented savvy business practices to increase sales and most importantly guest satisfaction.
After his successful stint at Disney, Kern then turned to school food service. He went to work for the 8th largest school district in the nation, Orange County Public Schools (OCPS). Working in the foodservice department, he brought to bear the experience he had gathered from the Navy and Disney.
As the 8th largest school system in the United States, the food and nutrition services department was responsible for feeding over 175k students daily and had a $67 million dollar budget. Serving as the training manager, he was responsible for making sure there was consistency in the food and service that the student customers received.
After only two years in this position, he was promoted to senior manager and was responsible for menu development, marketing and communications, training, product testing, supervising 23 high schools, and a twelve-person culinary/training team. In this position, he worked with the district’s office of Business Opportunity to increase MWBE and LDB contracts.
He impacted a 400% increase in MWBE/LDB business during his tenure.
Kern supervised 19 high schools, before the district grew to 23. Of the initial 19 schools he inherited, 18 were in a deficit and the entire program was 6 million dollars in the hole. After three years of a lot of hard work, 22 of 23 high schools were profitable and increased business for these schools by 46%. As a result, the department (as a whole) was no longer in a deficit.
Highlights of Kern’s accomplishments
Ingenious Culinary Concepts
- Implemented the first food truck (in the K-12 segment nationwide) giving students additional access to meals.
- Pioneered the food show concept that is still being replicated today in school districts across the nation.
- Has won numerous USDA, and Innovation awards.
- Worked on the national “Let’s Move” initiative spearheaded by former First Lady, Michelle Obama.
- Chosen to host Former First Lady, Michelle Obama for dinner in his home with his family
- Featured in The First lady’s book “American Grown”.
- Featured in “Michelle Obama: A Photographic Journey”.
- Featured in over a dozen trade and industry publications and media outlets.
Orange County Public Schools (OCPS)
- Responsible for making sure there was consistency in the food and service at the 10th largest school district in the United States.
- Promoted to Senior Manager after two years.
- Impacted a 400% increase in MWBE/LDB business during his tenure.
- Overcame a 6 million dollar deficit in 3 years.
- Increased business by 46%
United States Navy
- Finished in the top of his class in Culinary School.
- Earned accelerated advancement.
- Recommended to work at Camp David
- Earned the equivalent of employee of the month for 6 consecutive months.
- Mentor students at Jones High school through the Compact program
- Volunteers at the Second Harvest Food Bank
- Coached Ocoee Pop warner football
- Coached baseball at Ocoee little league
Walt Disney World
- Received the “Partners in Excellence” award – The highest award an employee can earn.