When Chef Dan Giusti left his job as head chef at Noma in Copenhagen (which has ranked several times as the Best Restaurant in the World by Restaurant magazine), it was to embark on a very different venture.
Dan founded a company called Brigaid with a very simple, but important mission: to make school cafeteria food better. Brigaid launched in New London, Connecticut, where professional chefs worked with staff at local grade schools to plan healthy meals using fresh ingredients — on an extremely tight budget and following all regulations.
"This year for lunch, we have $3.41 to produce a meal for each student. Within that $3.41 you have to pay for labor, you have to pay for maintenance, really anything that you need to produce the meal — which leaves you with about $1.25 just for ingredients," Dan says. "So with that $1.25 you need to offer a protein, a whole grain, a fruit and vegetable and a milk. But more importantly, a meal that kids really will enjoy eating."
"If kids don't enjoy the food, they're very honest about their opinions," Dan adds.
Due to its success in New London, Brigaid now works with food service programs around the country — including New York City Public Schools, Richmond Public Schools in Richmond, Virginia, the Southampton Union Free School District in Southampton, New York and Encore Community Services in New York, New York.