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Grow Education “Faces of Food” in New Bedford: Rob Shaheen

Rob Shaheen, Director of Food Services at New Bedford Public Schools

What energizes you and brings you excitement?

I get energized working with people. I enjoy the interactions and working on projects that make a difference. Working in a school Food Service Program is very fulfilling. Nutrition and hunger are important aspects of children’s lives and providing access to improve that is very exciting and enjoyable.

What are you grateful for this year?

This year was a very difficult time for most people and I’m very grateful to be working and finding ways to provide school meals to students that are not in school. I’m fortunate to have a wonderful family and friends to enjoy life with.

Are there any foods you wouldn’t eat as a child but eat now?

I was an extremely picky eater growing up and my desire to work in food service has introduced me to food that I would have never tried before. Guacamole is something I really enjoy and would have never eaten in my early years.

What do you wish you learned about food when you were in 3rd grade? 

I wish there was more information about food and nutrition. I grew up in an era that focused on processed and quick meals. That’s why I feel it is important to educate and provide healthy choices today to all grades of students.

What’s something you’ve learned about food that you found interesting or useful?

I love watching all the cooking shows and find it very interesting what you can do with food. I’ve learned that food offers many different tastes and comes in many different forms across all cultures. Recognizing and understanding the different cultures in our district will allow us to be more creative and identify with the community as we build the food service program and culinary center. It’s amazing to me how many different cuisines there are and how families come together celebrating culture and food. I believe it is the heart and soul of people and without food, we could not survive.

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