Chef Dumps Junk Food as New Chief of Baltimore School Lunch Menus

Chef Dumps Junk Food as New Chief of Baltimore School Lunch Menus

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students_with_lettuce_beds.jpgAs renowned chef Jamie Oliver wraps up his successful Food Revolution TV show in Huntington, West Virginia where he transformed the school lunch menu — and family habits — for thousands in front of a nationwide audience, the revolution continues, this time in a larger city, where a film crew has been following another charismatic chef on a food mission.

Tony Geraci is leading the charge to overhaul the dysfunctional school lunch system in Baltimore serving as the city’s new food service director.

He wants to replace pre-plated, processed foods with locally-grown, freshly-prepared meals for all 83,000 students. Once a passionate chef in New Orleans, Geraci describes himself as a “little bit lunch lady, a lot P.T. Barnum.” His bold vision includes a vegetable garden at every school, student-designed meals, meatless Monday’s, and nutrition education in the classroom. His mission is as audacious as it is practical.

The feature documentary film, now in production, follows Geraci as the central character in his ambitious effort to ‘green’ the public school diet in A Recipe for Change.

Inner city youth have planted and harvested vegetables at the school system’s 33-acre teaching farm. High school seniors are even developing practical job skills through a new citywide culinary vocational training program.

“If Tony makes this happen here the way he wants to, I think you’ll see this happening all over the country,” says best-selling author and food activist Michael Pollan in the film.

Learn more at A Recipe For Change or watch the wonderful film trailer below.

2011 UPDATE: After catalyzing change around school food in Baltimore, Tony Geraci felt he had taken his role as far as he could, and left in 2011 with confidence that the people and programs were in place to sustain the momentum. He moved to Memphis to try to do the same things there.