Pictured above are Chef Ken Oringer, Jill Shah of the Shah Family Foundation, Deb Ventircelli, deputy director of BPS Food and Nutrition, Lawrence Parks of Welbilt, Jennie Hall, kitchen manager of East Boston High School, Phil Brangiforte, headmaster of East Boston High, and Caitlin Meagher and Kelly Walsh of the BPS Food and Nutrition Department.
BOSTON — Friday, May 26, 2017 — A well-known Boston chef visited East Boston High School on Thursday, May 25, to teach food service workers how to prepare a Baja fish taco dish as part of a Boston Public Schools (BPS) pilot program that aims to increase the availability of fresh food for BPS students.
Chef Ken Oringer, who oversees the restaurants Toro, Coppa, Uni, and Little Donkey, helped kick off the Hub and Spoke Pilot Program with the BPS Food and Nutrition Department. Oringer prepared the dish with East Boston High School kitchen staff, led by kitchen manager Jennie Hall.
“Chef Oringer’s creativity and expertise truly energizes our staff to cook the most delicious, fresh, and appealing meals for our students,” said BPS Food and Nutrition Director Laura Benavidez. “As we look for ways to increase access to fresh food for all of our students, we are grateful to learn from industry leaders such as Chef Oringer and gather ongoing feedback from our most important customers — our students.”
Presented to the Boston School Committee this month, the Hub and Spoke Project is an experiment for the next four weeks aimed at bringing locally prepared meals to three schools in East Boston that do not have full-service kitchens. The program will utilize East Boston High School’s full-service kitchen to prepare meals for three nearby schools with so-called “satellite kitchens”: East Boston Early Education Center, Bradley Elementary, and Patrick J. Kennedy Elementary.
Less than one-third of the district’s 125 schools have full-service kitchens, with the majority relying on an outside vendor to provide packaged meals. If the Hub and Spoke program proves successful, the program could be replicated in other areas of the school district.
The four East Boston schools participating in Hub and Spoke received new Welbilt “combi-ovens” as part of the program. The combi-ovens allow for cooking multiple types of food items at one time without cross-contamination. The combi-ovens can also steam food.
The Hub and Spoke program is receiving support through a generous donation from the Shah Family Foundation.