For the last four years, the nonprofit Wellness in the Schools has helped New York City public schools get hooked up with professional chefs. Gramercy Tavern's Michael Anthony, Baohaus's Eddie Huang, Craft's Jenny McCoy and other notable chefs designed lunch menus for about 30 schools to get healthier, fresher food into their cafeterias.
the program, or at least its professional chef component is ending this year because it doesn't fit with new school nutritional requirements. Per the Times:
...according to Marge Feinberg, a [New York City Department of Education] spokeswoman, the program’s approach does not comply with the requirements of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act, which sets higher nutritional standards for the food served to students across the country, and provides an additional subsidy of 6 cents per meal for schools that comply.To which a nutritionist who works with the program says: "It's a very obvious thing how much healthier these are, the recipes made from scratch as opposed to prepackaged food." WITS will continue to do cooking demonstrations and give out educational materials on nutrition and health, but neither the nonprofit nor its partner chefs will be involved in designing lunch menus.
Update: The team from WITS reached out to clarify that the nonprofit will continue to be in schools' cafeterias, though they will no longer be able to actually design menus for the schools. The group will continue designing and implementing salad bars during lunch and hosting events and activity days around nutrition, and the "chefs/restaurants will continue to partner with schools, engage with the kids, and serve as inspiring role models" through these events.
· New York City Ends School Lunch Program that Used Professional Chefs [NYT]
· Wellness in the Schools [Official Site]