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Home / Fitness and Health / How Brigaid Chefs Are Transforming Public School Students' Lunch

How Brigaid Chefs Are Transforming Public School Students' Lunch



For most chefs, working at a Michelin-starred restaurant is a lifelong dream. But Dan Giusti is a native of New York, New York, NY, United States. Brigaid, a company that operates kitchens at Six Public Schools in New London, Connecticut. In 2018, Brigaid partnered with New York City Public Schools to transform the kitchens of six Bronx schools.

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School lunches are typically bleak, conjuring images of soggy sandwiches or mushy pasta. But Giusti has cooked meals in the kitchen.

MensHealth.com about his inspiration to Transform School cafeterias The Challenges of feeding young palates, and the worst lunches he's ever seen.

 brigaid dan giusti

Brigaid

MH: Can you explain how Brigaid works?

DG: We are a for-profit company that works with public school districts. They do it all internally. We transition their offerings to scratch-made foods. We put a chef in each of those schools. We train the bosses, we help train the rest of the staff. We help the school with the procurement of new ingredients. We work with the students. If they are happy or not. If the kids are not happy with it.

Why are you interested in school lunches?

There are no other places where you have access to people who need food everyday. This was the way you could cook for a lot of people often, which I wanted to do. In schools, every day for 16-17 years of their life. Young people are getting to grips with their food, and that food is important. You can change the way they eat.

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It's usually the paint of care and preparation. For example, you'll see a muffin and it's in a plastic bag, but it's still kind of frozen in the middle, but it's thawing on the outside. You'll have this semi-frozen wet muffin inside a plastic bag. That's the child of stuff you'll see that's the child of disappointing.

The kids have to eat it. They have to come back. You're not fighting for business.

How do you make food that's appealing to kids but still nutritious?

If I could tell you a clear-cut answer to that, I'd be a billionaire. It's a tricky thing.

One example of something that's a little more adventurous and one little more successful is a chicken curry dish. It has coconut milk. It has lemon grass. It has yellow curry powder, which is a lot of our students were not familiar with. It's served over steamed rice, which are used to eat. It's definitely accessible.

What is the best and worst thing about a cafeteria restaurant?

I think the hardest part of the transition to school food is that it's a good idea be serving.

When you work in fine dining, people are coming to eat what you make. In schools, everybody has a different opinion on what's right and what's good. Getting into it, you think, "We're going to make the food better and everybody's going to be happy about this." But that's not always the case. It's a challenge to make everyone happy.


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