Minneapolis schools transform lunch into chef-driven experience

Last week, students taste tested an apple-kale salad.

MINNEAPOLIS—A couple of weeks ago when Sanford Middle School debuted its new, cooked fresh, on-site lunch, the center of the plate was chicken. Not a nugget, not a patty, just a piece of roasted chicken, hot from the oven and on a compostable plate.

Accustomed to limp plastic packets of food, lots of kids wouldn’t eat it. So eighth-grader Oscar Booth, who seems to be something of a ringleader, cleaned all four of the plates that went untouched by the classmates at his table.

Word spreads quickly on the middle-school grapevine. One day last week, Booth volunteered to finish off his friends’ teriyaki chicken, but got no takers. Nor was anyone at his table willing to fork over the salads they had composed from a brand-new salad bar.