Chef helps spice up school lunch

Published: Mar. 7, 2016 at 6:51 PM EST
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There is a new cook in the kitchen at Harlan County High School.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Farm to School program, Community Farm Alliance, and the National Farm to School Network came together to jump-start the "Chefs in Schools Collaborative."

Harlan County is one of eight districts to take part in the program.

The goal of the program is to help school cooks better utilize fresh ingredients in their existing menus.

"Fresh ingredients are always important to a cook," Visiting Chef Judy Gurnee said. "We like to work with the closest available products that we can get ... the finest quality."

School cooks tell the chef what they would like to learn. Kitchen Manager Jan Hicks said she wanted to learn how to better use spices on vegetables. She said, so far, the program is helpful.

"I'm for anything that's going to get the children to eat," Hicks said. "That's what we are here for."

The students are the customers. Coordinators said for some, school lunch is especially important.

"Our kids, one in four are homeless," Director of Food Service Jack Miniard said. "That means that they are living with a grandparent or they are living with some other family member ... so, this may be the only meal that they get a day."

Chef Gurnee will help cook at the school until the end of March.