Michael Collichio takes over as food service director

Hackley welcomes a new Head of Food Services


Credit: Hadley Chapman

Head of Dining Services Michael Collichio inspects a chicken dish with other members of Flik. Collichio is new to Hackley this year. Among other things, he has worked as a line cook and a hospital chef in the past.

By Hadley Chapman, Staff Writer

“Let food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food,” says the new head of dining services, Michael Collichio. Collichio joins the hilltop’s Flik staff this year with hopes of bringing a shared vision and enthusiasm for how food can be used to excite people and get them engaged in thinking about their own long term health and wellness. He hopes to bring both short and long term changes to the Hackley communities health and wellness.

Collichio’s roots are in restaurants. He started off as a line cook, preparing ingredients and assembling dishes. Then, after college, he worked in a hospital as a chef. “It was pretty revolutionary in that patients could order what they wanted when they wanted. We did a lot of fresh cooking, we made everything from scratch,” Collichio says.

After getting into management he started leading teams that were caring for a community. “Having spent the past 18 years in hospitals, serving communities in that way, I spent a lot of my career dealing with people after they had made a lifetime of bad food choices.” This inspires Collichio to help people improve their diets.

Along with his love for food, Collichio enjoys giving back to the community. For three years he oversaw a meals on wheels program in Missoula, Montana. That program served about 240 individuals a day. The nutritious meals would be prepared, boxed up and volunteer drivers would drive the food to people who were homebound and had difficulty getting to a grocery store.

Let food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.”

— Michael Collichio

With Collichio’s background in healthcare, he believes that “what we put into our bodies is the single most important thing we can do. ” A healthy change that has already been introduced to the Hackley dining hall is the removal of the juice machines, due to the high sugar content of it.

One of the things that really drew Collichio to Hackley was the school’s commitment to serving highly nutritious, wholesome and local food whenever possible and thinking about food as a means to a healthy life not just as a means to survive.

“Everybody has their vices, everyone loves a cheeseburger, but I also want to see if we can help people realize that they love camut, and whole grains and quinoa and try to get in touch with what it means to live in a community where the food is grown around you,” Collichio added.

A priority for Collichio is using locally-produced food. In doing so he hopes to raise awareness to food miles — a measurement used to quantify locality with food. The thousands of miles that some food has to travel can leave a substantial carbon footprint, which can further impact climate change. There could be some pretty substantial change within the next couple of years with regard to the use of local foods.

In terms of more short term changes, Collichio hopes to improve catering events. For example, Collichio sees the coffee houses as an opportunity to bring healthier options, for example, a grain bowl, where you could build your own bowl with quinoa, rice avocado, and other colorful, delicious ingredients.

Collichio’s message for the student body is, “we’re here for you guys. Knowing what you guys are looking for is so important to us. I think its a shared vision, something we can do together as a community.”