20 Most Influential: Tim Cipriano, New Haven Public Schools

Known as the Local Food Dude, Cipriano has made it his mission to bring healthy, sustainable fare to school lunch.

In child nutrition there’s a dichotomy between obesity and hunger. In the New England city that Yale calls home, Tim Cipriano is combatting both sides of that food coin.

Tim Cipriano

Executive Director of Food Services,

New Haven Public Schools,

New Haven, Conn.

In child nutrition there’s a dichotomy between obesity and hunger. In the New England city that Yale calls home, Tim Cipriano is combatting both sides of that food coin.

Cipriano came to the district in the summer of 2008 to transition the department to self-op and remake the program into a healthy dining experience. He knew he couldn’t change the system overnight and alienate the students, 80% of whom qualify for free or reduced-priced meals, so he made little changes like switching all breads to whole grain. He then started making more “real food,” such as using fresh potatoes instead of canned to make mashed potatoes. Cipriano also eliminated chicken nuggets, a school lunch staple, instead opting for whole chickens to make roasted chicken breasts.

Living up to his moniker, the Local Food Dude, Cipriano has worked with the schools to plant gardens and to use that produce in the students’ meals. Cipriano was also instrumental in starting the Chefs Move to Schools program and sits on the steering committee for the CIA’s Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids conference.

“We are on the forefront of hunger,” Cipriano told FSD. “There are children in our schools who rely on New Haven School food as their only nutrition of the day and that saddens me.” Cipriano might be sad, but he’s fighting back.

“Tim is completely committed to making sure kids in America get the healthy food they need, not just enough food,” says Debbie Shore, co-founder of Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit working to end childhood hunger in America. “Tim has been a longtime and tireless supporter of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign on local and national levels. We have benefitted tremendously from his influence as a school nutrition innovator and community leader in New Haven and his willingness to always do more.” 


Foodservice Director has undertaken a bold initiative by identifying people who we believe are having the biggest impact on non-commercial foodservice. Our list may surprise you and should certainly intrigue you. Our honorees have backgrounds as varied as their personalities. They range from the father of the modern-day food truck to the wife of a sitting president. They include operators and suppliers, chefs and consultants, CEOs and civil servants. There are traditionalists and there are mavericks. Well-known names share space with hot newcomers. In all, 17 people, two groups of individuals and one institution compose the list. It’s time to meet FSD’s 20 Most Influential.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Amherst-Pelham Regional School District in Amherst, Mass., is updating its lunch debt policy to no longer single out students, MassLive reports.

Under the new policy, students with lunch debt will be given the same meals as their peers, regardless of how much they owe. School officials will also be communicating directly with parents of students who have accumulated debt instead of through the students themselves.

The updated policy comes just before U.S. school districts will be required to publicly list their lunch debt policies, per new USDA requirements starting July 1...

Menu Development
eureka

Since California’s state motto is “Eureka!” it seems fitting that a recent conversation with the director of hospitality at San Diego’s Palomar Health led to the biggest aha moment I’ve had in a long time.

I called Jim Metzger in late April with the purpose of discussing Palomar’s recent commitment to the goal of making 60% of its total menu plant-based by this summer. It seemed a lofty number, and I was curious how the public health system planned to get there.

But my personal eureka didn’t come while we were talking about how Palomar had cleaned up the impulse-buy zones...

Industry News & Opinion

Labeling foods with indulgent buzzwords such as “sweet sizzlin’” and “crispy” can lead consumers to make healthier food choices , according to a recent study out of Stanford University .

In the fall 2016 study, researchers labeled vegetables in one of the school’s dining halls using terms from four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.

The green beans, for example, were listed as “green beans” for basic, “light ‘n’ low-carb green beans and shallots” for healthy restrictive, “healthy energy boosting green beans and shallots” for healthy...

Ideas and Innovation
sparkling water

Our carbonated soft drink sales at Earls.67 reflect a national trend; we’re continually down on carbonated soft drink sales by 8% to 9% on an annual basis,” says Cameron Bogue, beverage director at the contemporary-casual chain Earls Kitchen + Bar.

The issue with spa water

Many operators are intrigued with the offering, but they are learning that infused water can’t be offered at a cost to guests unless there is added value beyond cut-up fruit. Bogue says, “I was adamant that I didn’t want to charge for spa water.”

Agua fresca alternatives

At the original location of

...

FSD Resources