Food Revolution Professional

The amazing individuals we highlight here are chefs, school nutrition directors, foodservice providers, restaurant owners and other food professionals who are showing us the way to better food for kids. Their programs provide models for how to cook healthy food from good ingredients that kids and adults will love to eat.

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Jamie Smith, Senior Manager of Food Services and Nutrition - Santa Cruz City Schools

Jamie joined the Santa Cruz City Schools District as Senior Manager of Food Services and Nutrition in 2009 having left his dream job to tackle the meal closest to his heart, the School Lunch. With a wealth of experience and knowledge gained during his time as a chef, working alongside many top chefs in a number of great restaurants, coupled with a commitment to cooking with healthy, local, seasonal foods, Jamie has turned around the food system at Santa Cruz Schools - which now offer fresh, new flavours and healthy from scratch options.


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Scott Soiseth, Child Nutrition Director Turlock Unified

Scott Soiseth has turned around the food served within the Turlock Unified School district through hid real. fresh. menu, moving towards fresh fruits and vegetables and introducing truly innovative meat options such as rotisserie chicken and sustainable grass feed beef. Having realised back in 2006 that his commitment for health needed to be accompanied by an image that would make his cafeterias a lasting success, Scott introduced real. fresh. The brand is everywhere, from the speed lines and equipment in the cafeteria, to the sports field scoreboard and promotional posters. By improving the overall food quality and backed by the smart marketing, overall lunch participation by students has gone up.

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Miguel Villarreal, Nutrition Director, Novato Unified School District

Since joining the Novato Unified School District as Nutrition Director in 2002, Miguel has developed and implemented innovative strategies to improve school lunches by offering more nutritious, whole food choices including a fresh salad daily whilst phasing out processed foods high in sugar and fat, and removing chocolate milk. As an advocate of locally grown and organic foods, Miguel ensures as much local, organic food is used as possible and has connected many students and their families with their local farms and harvest produce through harvest of the month and gleaning programs.

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John Turenne, Founder and President of Sustainable Food Systems

John is a nationally recognized leader and innovator in sustainable food practices. Recognizing the impact of food service on the world around us, John’s consulting company is on the cutting edge in developing best-practices to benefit health, the planet and the bottom line. John and his team use careful assessment, planning, teaching and development to revolutionize food service in schools, hospitals and universities. They have worked with Jamie Oliver on the West Virginia Food Revolution and were chosen by the White House to help develop the USDA’s Chefs Move to Schools initiative.

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Gary Petill, Director of Food Services

Gary Petill is Director of Food Services at San Diego Unified School District. He joined Food Services eight years ago and has since implemented great changes in the way SDUSD schools provide meals to students. Gary came to Food Services after 23 years in the hotel trade, with a mission to promote healthier eating habits in children. He has overseen the removal of chocolate milk from the schools’ breakfast program, introduced salad bars featuring fresh local produce and committed SDUSD to eliminating all heavily processed foods from school menus over three years. He is a strong advocate of encouraging children to eat more fruit and veg.

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Jeff Mills, Food Service Director

Jeff is the ambitious former NYC restaurateur hired to revolutionize DC Public Schools food. He helps confront DC’s childhood obesity crisis by ensuring that 45,000 students have access to high-quality school meals and are empowered to make healthy choices. Jeff has implemented two pilot meal programs to drastically improve food quality and taste, has ensured that all vendors source 20 per cent of their ingredients locally, has cut processed foods from the menu and has established some of the highest nutritional standards in the country. By June, DCPS will have served 2 million more meals than last year, saving $1 million.

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Tracie Thomas, Director of Nutrition Services

Tracie immediately used her role as Nutrition Director for Compton Unified School District to eliminate strawberry milk, an initiative that benefitted 39,000 kids. This year, she removed chocolate milk from breakfast, and next year plans to remove it from lunch. The kids are not drinking less milk, instead, purchase is up due to the fact that it is served ice cold. Tracie has also piloted SNS F.R.E.S.H (School Nutrition Service Farm Raised Especially for Student Health). Working with her produce provider and the local farmers' market, she currently serves local scratch food in each of the 39 schools in Compton Unified.

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Paul Boundas, Chef and Restaurant Owner

Paul is chef and owner of Country House Restaurant, a family-run business that operates school food programs throughout Chicago. Last year, he partnered with Holy Trinity to develop an innovative and thriving school meal program that provides freshly prepared nutritious meals. Paul has transformed the system, everything is made from scratch on site, with a focus on high-quality ingredients - fresh meats, locally grown produce, and wholegrain baked goods and pasta. All the chips, French fries, sodas, and prepackaged foods have been eliminated from the meal program and both revenue and participation rates have risen.

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Timothy Cipriano, Executive Director of Food Services

As a chef, Tim has prioritized real food in New Haven Public Schools, CT. Tim leveraged the purchasing power of 20,000 student meals a day. His produce bid attracted a large vendor, specializing in local farms, with competitive prices. As a result, 140,000 pounds of produce is now locally sourced. Since the 09/10 school year, chicken nuggets, mozzarella sticks, and fish patties are off the menu. Roasted "on the bone chicken" is a menu staple, served with fresh vegetables and spice-based sauces. New Haven school lunch is in alignment with the Wellness Committee's deep concern for childhood obesity and is loved by the kids.