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DeRusha Eats: Non-Profit Grant Hooks Up MPS Kitchen
Thursday, October 13, 2016 11:30 AM

You might expect a machine pumping cup after cup of orange curry vinaigrette to be in a salad dressing factory. You probably wouldn’t expect it inside the headquarters of a school district’s food program.
 
“We’re very lucky, we really are,” Bertrand Weber, head of nutrition services for Minneapolis Public Schools, said.
 
His kitchen makes 50,000 meals a day, and his new cupping machine can pump out 50,000 cups of salad dressing in just a couple of hours.
 
Weber has been trying to get the preservatives out and the nutrients in every meal in every school. Two years ago he asked the Minneapolis-based Life Time Foundation for help.
 
“They said, ‘What if we provided you the tools?’ I said that would be the right step. Then they said, ‘Think bigger, what else do you need?'”
 
About $550,000 later, he has industrial mixers that pump dressing into the cupping machine. He has an automated fruit slicer that washes, cuts, and preserves fresh fruit to be delivered to schools. A vegetable chopper-food processor also helps the school save money by buying in bulk as opposed to buying pre-sliced produce.
 
“We’re doing 300 pounds of diced onion, carrots, celery for a recipe like chicken a la king. So with this we can buy the whole thing in bulk and do it ourselves,” he said.