NYC student makes film about "disgusting" school lunch

Student says descriptions of food didn't match what he was served.

When most kids don’t like their soggy school lunch food, they complain about it. Not so for one fourth-grader. Zachary Maxwell, a student at Public School 130 in Little Italy, decided last year to cook up a film documenting the less-than-appetizing grub served on white styrofoam trays.

He found it to be a far cry from the nutritious noshes the Education Department has recently boasted about preparing in public schools across the city.

“It sounded like the food was coming from the most delicious restaurant,” said the 11-year-old, now in fifth grade. “Like, ‘golden crispy chicken nuggets and fresh braised collards.’ But some of it kind of looked disgusting.” Instead, Zachary said, he got “burned chicken nuggets with no green beans, no vegetables.”

So the filmmaker turned his thoughts about food into food for thought in his 20-minute movie, “Yuck: A 4th Grader’s Short Documentary About School Lunch,” which will be screened Friday at the Manhattan Film Festival.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
food allergy

When potential students come to campus, we match them with a student from our allergy support group for a tour of our dining facilities. The ambassador helps the potential student to understand how they navigated campus with their food allergy. This showcases what we do for allergies on campus, and is a highly successful way to make the students feel good about dining.

Menu Development
muse school produce

Kayla Webb, executive chef at Muse School, has transitioned the private K-12 day school in Calabasas, Calif., to an entirely vegan menu over a three-year period. Webb talks about her menuing, and how the school’s kitchen earned the title of “greenest restaurant in the world” from the Green Restaurant Association.

Q: How did you help parents get used to the idea of an all plant-based diet?

A: The first year, we didn’t announce it. We were just serving one plant-based meal a week, so it wasn’t that drastic. We do monthly Muse Talks where we invite different speakers to our school to...

Ideas and Innovation
lettuce dirt

Savor at McCormick Place developed the Green Thumb brand for menu items and products featuring its rooftop bounty; the latest is a pale ale made with the first crop of hops grown on the roof. Promoting that branding and the convention center’s green certification has brought in business from groups with a sustainability focus.

Ideas and Innovation
business pamphlet fair show

As we struggle to recruit and retain millennials, we had our current millennial employees invite friends who don’t work for our organization to a Q&A session where we find out why our organization is or isn’t appealing to them, and what they are looking for in an employer. I recommend doing this off-site in a casual environment so you can get honest and open feedback that could be useful for better marketing.

FSD Resources