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You won’t find any “mystery meat” at All Saints Episcopal School in Tyler, Texas, since its offerings are now being prepared at FRESH by Brookshire’s.
All Saints selected FRESH from several vendors, and has now contracted the store for its cafeteria operation. Michael Brady, executive chef at FRESH, began making preparations to partner with All Saints at the end of the last school year after hearing about customers’ desires for better options for their children. Under the supervision of Brady, along with Kyle Glasscock, FRESH food service director, a team of FRESH partners serve about 500 meals per day to students and staff at All Saints.
“A big part of what we’re doing here is interacting with the kids and teaching them good eating habits,” said Brady. “I want them to enjoy food and try things that they might not normally try. We also teach that it’s okay if you don’t like it, but you’ll never know until you try it.”
Brady is using this opportunity to bring his passion for food to students and to encourage them to select healthier options, eat more fruits and vegetables and be more accepting of diverse food choices.
He notes that students have responded very positively to FRESH’s food, and that more kids are eating lunch at school and even those that bring their lunch from home are trying different foods. “Every day I’m cooking something different,” Brady noted. “Whether it’s broccoli, brussels sprouts or cauliflower, I offer something that’s an absolute ‘no’ to a child. And if they don’t like it, they can spit it out, but they know it’s okay to try it.”
Most of the options offered are prepared fresh on-site, with nothing previously frozen. The store prepares approximately 150 breakfast tacos each day, and serves a lunch menu that consists of a hot lunch line and a “comfort” option, in addition to a salad bar. The students can choose from milk, Red Diamond tea or a variety of the store’s fresh-squeezed juices.
For older students, FRESH also provides a “grab-n-go” section, with yogurt parfaits, pre-made salads, sandwiches and fresh fruit.
Brady has also worked with students to create a vegetable garden on campus, where he will eventually use homegrown ingredients in his recipes. “These kids are the next generation, and I want to be an influence on their habits at an early age,” he said.
The 55,000-square-foot FRESH by Tyler, Texas-based Brookshire’s, a new concept food store, opened in March 2011. It features a coffee and gelato bar, an artisan bakery, organic foods, gluten-free foods, bulk foods, and expanded healthy living items, along with a pharmacy, an award-winning floral department, a bank, as well as traditional grocery items and staples.