Amy Miles, prep cook, prepares ingredients for lunch at Roosevelt High. Photo by Joe Treleven
A prototype kitchen and servery at this elementary school and high school set the standard for other renovations — allowing fresh food to become the star of the show.
When Bertrand Weber joined the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) district in 2012, he set forth ambitious goals to make major changes in the foodservice program. As director of culinary and nutrition services, Weber intended to turn away from the existing operation, which was unpopular but accepted as status quo and which relied primarily on centrally produced, prepackaged meals using processed ingredients. He sought to shift instead to one that incorporated scratch cooking, fresh ingredients and more locally sourced products. With this new system, Weber envisioned students and faculty would dine during one of three lunch periods in pleasant environments that encouraged social interaction with open, airy, attractively designed spaces with eye-catching graphics and murals of fresh food and digital signage. These goals would be possible to achieve, he said at the time, with dining facility renovations and new builds, a community and urban farm-to-school program and the True Food Chef Council, a collaboration of local chefs helping with recipe development, renovating the central kitchen and adding food trucks.