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Denver Public Schools will soon be cooking 100% of school meals from scratch

Partnership brings professional chefs into schools
Denver Public Schools will soon be cooking all school meals from scratch
Posted at 6:41 AM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 18:46:48-04

DENVER — Denver Public School students might notice a change in the cafeteria food next year. The district is partnering with the company Brigaid to achieve its goal of cooking 100% of school meals from scratch. Brigaid is on a mission to bring better food to institutional settings, especially schools.

DPS Spokesperson Winna MacLaren said the district is already cooking about half of all meals from scratch. Brigaid will hire 12 professional chefs to work with the existing kitchen staff at 166 schools over the next three years.

Brigaid Founder Dan Giusti said he’s hiring chefs who want to collaborate with DPS and make a difference in school lunches.

“Most of them are coming from the restaurant industry and they just need to be passionate about the idea of feeding people who need it — in this case, students who really depend on these meals,” Giusti said.

Cooking from scratch can be a challenge for large institutions. DPS serves 40,000 breakfasts and 50,000 lunches every day. They must follow USDA nutritional guidelines, while still making meals that kids will like.

Rosa Martinez, kitchen manager at Place Bridge Academy, said scratch cooking improves the flavor and consistency of the meals they serve.

“When I started 30 years ago, we made (everything) from scratch,” Martinez said.

The partnership with Brigaid is being funded by a grant, and won’t change the price of breakfast or lunch for DPS families.