Celebrating Black History Month

February 27, 2024


Diversity is a core value at Fresh Ideas. A diverse team makes us stronger through different leadership styles, ideas, and creative ways to overcome challenges. We understand the importance of diversity throughout our company, which is why we celebrated our teammates during Black History Month in February. Here are a few of our talented chefs and leaders we recognized:

Meet Shackeel, Chef at Doane University. Shackeel is West Indian and says his favorite foods to cook are ethnic foods especially Caribbean and Indian food. With over six years of professional cooking experience, he is passionate about serving guests delicious food. He enjoys engaging with students at Doane, listening to their feedback, and creating new and exciting menu items.

A little-known fact is that Shackeel has played the trumpet since high school and still enjoys playing in his spare time. We are fortunate to have such creative chefs like Shackeel at Fresh Ideas.

Toni is the Campus Chef at Hannibal-LaGrange University. She loves cooking many different types of cuisine and trying new techniques and recipes.

With over 25 years of cooking experience, Toni enjoys the culinary industry because it allows her to constantly learn, try new things, and hone her culinary skills. Her favorite food is seafood…specifically lobster.

In her spare time, Toni enjoys gardening. She has quite the green thumb, owning and tending to a variety of types of plants. Fresh Ideas is grateful to have Toni preparing meals for students and staff at HLGU.

Alexia is a Director of Dining Services at Ranken Technical College. She’s been with Fresh Ideas for several years, starting out as a cashier with the company. She began her culinary journey 15 years ago when our VP of Culinary, Chef Carl Lovett, began mentoring her. Alexia’s cooked ever since, and although as a Director she enjoys leading her team and greeting guests, she’s never lost her love of cooking. Her favorite foods to prepare are cold prep foods like creating intricate fruit arrangements and garnishes. She also loves macaroni and cheese.

In her spare time, she enjoys arts and entertainment like social media, music, and dancing. Alexia is not only an exceptional chef, but also a great team leader.

These individuals – and many more – help make the Fresh Ideas dining experience unique. We are a people-first company with passionate and prideful teams. Their talent and unique experiences help create exceptional dining experiences for our guests.


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