Video: School lunches now being cooked on campus

Steven Guzman

Shannon Sullivan

After seven years of trying, Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) is finally serving fresh lunches in the cafeteria.

Despite having a fully working kitchen, DPMHS was one of the only schools in this section of management to still serve pre-packaged lunch. The budget for the new food items was approved by the current Food Service Director Manish Singh, who was pushing for the change to be made before assuming his position five months ago.

“We do look to provide fresh, nutritious and healthy meals daily,” Singh said in an email.

Since it takes seven hours to cook the lunches, breakfast in class will still be pre-packaged, now that the lunches are being served fresh, the cafeteria hopes to gain more students. Sophomore Trinitty Bayardo agrees that the recent switch should ensure this.

“It’s much better,” Bayardo said. “It actually tastes like real food.”

Prior to the recent change, the cafeteria made fresh salads and sandwiches for the past three years. Now, they can serve fresh chicken from Tyson, cucumbers, celery sticks and even whole pizzas. Many of the products come from Costco, Jennie O, Don Lee and other contracted vendors.

Principal Deb Smith, Food Service Manager Kathy Mrasz and a few others were trying to switch the school over from the Newman Nutrition Center, to prep lunches. The Newman Nutrition Center was where the food was originally made and packaged. The reason the change took so long was due to an issue with spacing for food on trucks and the lack of some kitchen equipment.

“There’s been a change to the menu over years,” Mrasz said. “That’s why we were insisting on switching, so you guys have better quality food.”