N.C. middle school adds "Cultural Café" to lunch period

"Cultural Café" is celebrated once a month and allows students to broaden their culinary horizons.

NEW BERN, N.C.—Students at H.J. MacDonald Middle School relished the opportunity to step away from their average school lunch menu Friday — courtesy of students from the Exceptional Children’s Program and a school cafeteria manager who wanted to do more for his students.

Four years ago Cafeteria Manager Kevin Reese and Guidance Counselor Valeria Nasser came together to create a way to teach H.J. MacDonald Middle School students about other cultures through food. Their idea became the monthly “Cultural Café,” a day where students broaden their culinary horizons via their school lunch.

“Cultural Café started as a way to diversify palates with foods from different countries and regions … it’s so popular now it is part of curriculum,” Reese said. “We wanted to show kids that local restaurants are not the end of the food chain.”