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Tony in LyonWhat kind of lunches did your schools serve growing up? Was there a chef who created fresh meals for students every day from scratch? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say… no.

If your memories of school lunches are anything like mine they might include some combination of pizza, chicken nuggets, canned veggies, a roll of some kind, hash brown bites, milk, and vacuum-packed peanut butter and chocolate squares for dessert.

Well friends, my mind has just been blown.

Last night I watched an episode of Tony Bourdain’s new show on CNN, Parts Unknown, where he traveled to Lyon, France. There he visited a grammar school that friend and famous chef Daniel Boulud attended as a boy, and ate a school lunch with 2nd graders.

The menu?

“Think pumpkin soup, chicken blanquette and fromage blanc, all crafted by head chef Marie, who personally comes to the table to serve each of the more than 300 children.”

To see a cafeteria with actual plates and silverware set up for the kids, where the chef serves each one of them individually and enfolds lunch into their education is an inspiration. Chef Marie expands students’ palates while modeling the joy and importance of food preparation, food service and participating in a community meal. Incredible.

Oh, and Chef Marie’s average daily cost per student* for these delicious, educational and professionally-prepared meals? $1.50.

What creative ways might we enfold school lunches into children’s education?

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*The average daily cost of school lunch in the U.S. is between $2-$3

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