Chefs who make a difference

These 10 chefs are influential not only in their operations but their communities as well.

Brian Axworthy
Executive Chef, Assistant Director
Colorado Springs School District 11
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Why Brian?
According to Rick Hughes, director of food and nutrition services:

“Brian is definitely a visionary. Brian has helped us take our program from a mostly highly processed food program to now exclusively scratch-cooked or clean label items. The food tastes so much better and it’s so much better nutritionally. We focus on what are we doing to help students learn in the classroom, and Brian cares greatly about that. Brian’s responsibility is that he must create recipes and menus that taste great to kids for $1.04 per meal total food costs. Those are tall marching orders.

One of the things he’s doing this year is creating a junior chef program to involve kids around the district at some level to provide input about the food being involved in the cafeteria but also learning where food comes from and how do we cook food. He’s very excited to involve students.

Another key initiative this year was, through the USDA commodity foods, to get cut up raw chicken. Going back to cooking raw chicken in schools is pretty scary but I know that we have good food safety programs. That’s another program that Brian is instrumental in pushing forward.

Brian has done culinary boot camps for our staff. There is both time in the kitchen learning culinary techniques and he’s also got some class time when he’s walking through theories and why things are done. He doesn’t just do the heavy lifting. He teaches people how to fish, so to speak.

Brian is in charge of community outreach. He partnered with the local food bank, Care and Share. We were able to serve another 50,000 or 60,000 meals this summer because Care and Share got their food from us. Brian also is in charge of our food rescue program. We experimented with that in 10 of our sites last year. We rescued food and took that to a community center, which worked with one of our local churches to box up meals to serve those from a food pantry for no charge.” 

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