I’m approaching my third year at DC Central Kitchen working under the Fresh Start catering umbrella arm in school food dining services. It’s been night and day in how we approach school food. Three years ago I, we, DCCK, were getting our feet wet by feeding 72 kids in a private school in North East. Year two brought us both clients in the public charter school sector and of course, the pilot program we were granted for 7 DCPS schools (these schools were the most under served in the over 100 schools that DCPS has on its roster). And now, in year three, our feet are no longer wet but rather soaking with experience, knowledge, and the tools to move into different schools to feed and also educate.
I am one of now a team of school food chefs with DCCK. Just as we have expanded our operations to develop more schools we needed more chefs to help execute them and I am honored to work with them.
This year my home base is at Walker Jones Education Campus right in the heart of the city. This school ALSO just happens to have a one-acre farm on it. But before I can use the produce that grows on the farm I have to have forms filled out signed by parents saying that their kid can eat the produce…. AND we then have to get the soil tested…makes sense and all but do you know how hard it is to get 436 waivers back? My next goal is to then figure out how much produce actually needs to be grown so that we can feed the students each their 4oz of vegetable portion as mandated for lunch by the Healthy Schools Act and national school lunch program.
You can be sure that Iron chef competitions will happen and guest chefs will visit. My goal is to try and get the First lady to visit the school and see how far we are going to get kids to understand the importance and role of food in their lives.
But then again…. when you have kids, who on the 5th day of school ask you when the salad bar starts well, that makes me think that maybe these guys already know the role of good food in their lives.