Courtesy of Brigaid
Brigaid has been serving free meals to children in the Bronx since the fall of 2018, but this summer the company took the project on the road with the acquisition of a food truck.
According to the Brigaid website, founder Dan Giusti formed the company to challenge traditional school lunches by putting professional chefs into public schools to cook real, wholesome food from scratch.
He started the program in New London, Conn. before expanding to New York City Public Schools, the nation’s largest public school district.
“We’ve learned a lot in New London and New York City with our full-service model, and now we’ve translated that into a training for schools and programs like the food truck to serve scratch-cooked food to even more students,” said Giusti.
Brigaid is currently working with the Department of Education’s Office of Food and Nutrition Services to provide three meals a day in two Bronx schools, Morris Academy and PS 218, according to PIX 11.
April Kindt, Brigaid’s regional chef overseeing New York City, said the company was originally hired as a consultant for the initiative called the scratch cooking program.
Its goal is to bring meals made from scratch to public schools in the Bronx.
Kindt said she has been in the city for about a year and a half, helping to plan and execute this program at Morris Academy and PS 218. Brigaid assisted in hiring and training two chefs, setting up the kitchens for scratch cooking, developing menus, training the staff at both schools and converting both kitchens to scratch menus.
This summer, the program was transformed into a food truck that was outfitted to transport and serve hot meals to kids from the Bronx. The program was called “Fuel Our Kids.”
Kindt said the two chefs from the elementary school programs spent the summer with her at several New York City Play Streets.
“It was great to travel to different locations throughout the city and meet students and parents from several boroughs, as well as the wonderful people who oversee the Play Streets and show up for these students every day so that they have somewhere safe to play during their summer break,” she said.
The chefs served food, collected feedback from students and had the opportunity to engage with the students.
“The communities we visited were so welcoming, and the feedback we collected this summer was invaluable and helped us begin the school year with a strong menu of student tested and approved recipes,” said Kindt.
Kindt said the food truck served recipes that were created in collaboration with the New York City Office of Food and Nutrition Services menu management department.
Most of those recipes have transferred city-wide to the September school lunch menu.
“They were simple, delicious recipes, made mostly from scratch, that could be executed in almost any school kitchen in the city,” she said.
Kindt said these recipes support the Office of Food and Nutrition Services’ long term goal of increasing scratch made preparations on their city-wide menus. Brigaid will continue to collaborate with the New York City Department of Education on recipe development throughout the school year.
Brigaid’s website said they hope to bring their food service program to more school districts around the country.
It said their ultimate goal is to help change”the landscape of school food nationwide.”