Dan Giusti, the former head chef of Noma in Copenhagen is inviting 10 world class American chefs to Brigaid’s hub in New London to compete in the first ever $1.25 throwdown. The chefs will be devising school lunches that fit within both the national school nutrition standards and the $1.25 budget.
The event takes place on Saturday 2 June and the guest chefs will cook head to head serving school lunches to the public. The people attending the event will get to savour one of these school lunches and also to join Brigaid for the after party that evening.
The chefs taking part in the event are Stuart Brioza from San Francisco, Jessica Koslow from Los Angeles, Jeremy Fox from Santa Monica, Mei Lin from Los Angeles, Nate Appleman from New York, Jeremiah Langhorne from Washington, James Wayman from Connecticut, Brandon Rodgers from San Francisco, David Posey from Chicago and the Ghetto Gastro (Jon Gray, Pierre Serrao, Lester Walker and Malcolm Livingstone) from Bronx, New York.
To support the event, Dan Giusti has launched a fundraiser. He aims to collect $150,000 which will go to support New London Public Schools which is not only their pilot site but also the hub for everything they do. They have used New London as the site for development for the past two years and want to continue to partner with New London Public Schools for research and development in all things relating to school food. The goal is to develop Brigaid as one of the best school food service programmes in the United States. So far, over $15,000 have been raised.
For those interesting in supporting this good cause, the support also includes Dan Cooking for you, a dinner for six at In Situ/SFMOMA Experience, signed cookbooks and much more.
You can find information here.
Led by Giusti, Brigaid is a group of chefs rethinking what it means to feed people. They recruit professionally trained chefs to lead school kitchens full-time with the goal of cooking delicious food from scratch. These meals simultaneously meet the strict budgetary and nutritional guidelines set by the National School Lunch Program and the quality standards Brigaid has.
Brigaid’s model is fueled by the belief that students deserve real, wholesome food, cooked with care and passion by chefs whose dedication is all encompassing. But the chef’s role goes beyond simply preparing the meals because they aim to develop meaningful relationships with teachers, adminstrations and the community to change the way people think about food and the act of eating.
Since 2016, Brigaid has operated in the six public schools of New London, Connecticut, serving breakfasts, lunches, and suppers to more than 3,900 students every day. As of 2018, Brigaid has also partnered with New York City Public Schools to begin service in six schools in the Bronx.
Because National School Lunch Program reimbursement rates are so low relative to food and labor costs, Brigaid is only able to budget $1.25 for each school lunch. Developing delicious, wholesome recipes that meet this tight $1.25 budgetary constraint is supremely difficult and time consuming- there’s a reason most school foodservice operations across the country rely on processed, prepackaged foods. While not impossible, balancing costs when developing nutritious, flavorful meals requires constant recipe testing as well as feedback from our customers, the students.
The aim of Brigaid is to increase meal variety and provide universal access to fresh, nutrient-dense foods, that will overtime alter the eating habits of students who spend a total of thirteen years in the public schools Brigaid serves.