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11 California-fresh school lunch tips, hacks and menu items to go from Marin Country Day School

This school in Corte Madera, Calif., was once known for its epic salad bars (up until the pandemic hit). But there’s no use looking back. Now, Executive Chef Jason Hull and the school food team are re-evaluating operations while taking it day by day and coming up with grab-and-go and in-classroom transportable ideas that work during these ever-changing times.

“We’re taking it day by day and week by week…we don’t look too far out because we know it’s going to change,” says Executive Chef Jason Hull, co-director of the Culinary Farm at Marin Country Day School, summing up the uncertainty so many school foodservice operations around the country are facing.

Hull knows his district is fortunate to be near California’s fresh produce and with the resources to continue scratch cooking for 500 to 750 students and teachers through different hybrid versions of classroom lunches and curbside grab and go. “We’re trying to get everyone back on campus later this month,” Hull says.

Everyone has done some sort of pivot through the coronavirus pandemic, but for an operation where high-touch salad bars were the crowning glory, it’s been an especially bitter pill to swallow.

“We’re not going back to salad bars, at least not for a long time,” says Hull, who also runs the school’s garden, which is big enough to supply a significant amount of produce to the dining team. Here are some of the ways he’s coping, that might work for you, too.

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