School cafeteria food is not exactly known for being delicious but one chef wants to change that. In an article in the Epoch Times titled How a Renowned Chef Plans to Transform School Cafeteria Food, Andrea Hayley writes:
“Dan Giusti left his job as head chef at one of the world’s top ranked restaurants to volunteer for one of the most unglamorous cooking jobs in America. This summer he will start managing chefs in schools, and he couldn’t be prouder. Ambitious cooks coming out of culinary school all want to work in fine dining, said Giusti, explaining how he ended up at Noma, in Copenhagen, Denmark, ranked best in the world four times by Restaurant magazine.
“It took me a while to figure out that this is not what I was cut out to do,” he explained in a recent telephone interview. I didn’t want to serve exquisite meals to a select group of people, I wanted to “feed people.” “I wanted to wake up every day and think I am doing something that is affecting people’s daily lives. That is important to me,” Giusti added. Giusti, a 31-year-old New Jersey native with Italian roots, speaks fast, with a voice rich with urgency, energy, and passion. He said his first thought was to try doing affordable fast food, but he couldn’t work out a price point low enough.
He then started to consider institutional food, like at hospitals, prisons, and schools. These places all have kitchens and people working in them, he said, but they may not be working efficiently. The idea of school lunches really intrigued him. The National School Lunch Program serves lunches to more than 31 million children each day, according to the USDA. “The more I thought about it, the more I loved it,” said Giusti. He reasoned that a chef’s natural ability to manage a million things at once (both on the stove and off), would be just the right skill set to elevate what is reputably an uninspiring experience for most students.
It so happened that he was talking about his idea one day at Noma, when the step daughter of the superintendent of schools for New London, Conn., overheard Giusti’s idea of chefs in schools. When Dr. Manuel J. Rivera learned about Giusti from his step daughter, he reached out without hesitation. After a series of email exchanges, time passed, and Rivera said he next learned from the newspaper that Giusti had returned to the United States to pursue his dream. Rivera immediately invited Giusti for a visit. A partnership with the internationally-renowned chef fit perfectly into Rivera’s far-reaching plan to raise standards across the board for his students.”
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