The Dining Experience

At Clearwater, meals are a wonderful opportunity for campers and counselors to come together, have lively conversation, reflect on their day, and foster good social skills and manners. Meals are served family style in the hilltop dining room, the Mains’l. Each week, campers sit with a new table of friends. Tables are assigned, to help foster a sense of belonging for the camper. Tables are a mix of younger and older girls, another way we help create strong friendships throughout camp.

Clearwater prides itself on its delicious, nutritious food for campers and staff alike, which means virtually everything is made from scratch. All that nutritious, home-cooking is thanks to our cooks from Sterling Food Service Management, a family owned company contracted with Clearwater since 2012. The kitchen is led by Head Chef Dave Prasse. He is joined each summer by a prep cook and three other team members who help set tables and bus and clean plates after meals. Every meal includes vegetarian options. We also accommodate various food allergies and special dietary needs, which parents note on the camper’s Health History form.

Campers get vegetables from dining hall salad bar
Camper serves food to others at table

Chef Dave and the rest of the Sterling team believe in avoiding processed foods. “We prepare everything possible from scratch including fresh sauces, homemade breads, salad dressings, cookies, and desserts, etc.,” explained Sterling Chairman David Berry. “There is no frozen heat and serve in our kitchens. Preparing meals from scratch using fresh seasonings and raw ingredients makes for not only delicious meals but, healthy meals, free from preservatives and other additives. We support the community by using local sources for our produce at all times possible.”

Dave also serves potentially new, healthy foods that campers can try and might not encounter at home. One of the surprise hits from summer 2013, for example, was Dave’s kale, quinoa and sweet potato salad.

Chef Dave's kale, quinoa, and sweet potato salad

Sterling’s motto is an extension of the “Do unto others…” Golden Rule, modified to reflect their service. Since the firm was founded in 1991, they have established a business providing catering to numerous sororities and fraternities. The Sterling philosophy fits well with Clearwater: “Our Sterling team creates distinctive culinary experiences crafted from scratch by bringing together the freshest and highest quality ingredient…with a measure of LOVE.”

From food, to song, to the collective celebration of camper accomplishments, mealtimes are an opportunity to gather and enjoy the nourishment of each summer’s truly special camp family.