Family-style service teaches students social skills

"Eatiquette" program was designed by local Philly chef.

Feb. 28—Baked ziti with a side of roasted fennel salad and, for dessert, cinnamon apple rice pudding is already an impressive dish for school foodservice, but at the People For People Charter School in Philadelphia it's even being served in an innovative way: family-style.

Students pass serving dishes around circular tables, where they eat off plates, not cafeteria trays, and use silverware instead of plastic utensils. People For People is one of four schools participating in the "Eatiquette" program, which was designed by local chef Marc Vetri to provide nutritious, low-cost lunches in a setting that reinforces social niceties and communication skills.

"This is more than just eating healthy," Vetri said. "This is learning how to interact with each other."