Something’s Cooking: Exploring new flavors at Hartford Public Schools

Exploring new flavors at Hartford Schools cafeteria
Published: Aug. 13, 2022 at 9:37 AM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - The first day of the fall semester is right around the corner.

Connecticut schools are great places to learn, but this year they are also great places to eat.

In this back-to-school edition of Something’s Cooking, Eyewitness News headed to cafeterias of the Hartford School District.

Specials include a delicious chicken fajita, a lovely vegan flatbread and chicken alfredo.

“I want our families to know that we put an incredible amount of effort into making sure their children are well fed,” said Lonnie Burt, Senior Director of Child Nutrition Services for the Hartford School District.

She’s pumped about the fall semester, but one thing that bores Lonnie is when people trot out tired tropes about cafeteria food.

“That is the hardest challenge to get people to get around is the food of yesterday is not the food of today,” said Lonnie.

Lonnie and her great staff prove every day their menu is creative. They use many products from local farms and business like this whole grain Jamaican beef party from Scott’s Jamaican Bakery in Hartford.

“We love working with them they have a great product but we also know that we are helping to keep some of our food dollars right here in this community,” said Lonnie.

Chefs like cook manager Sarah Chiara are especially proud of their meals this year because they are healthier than ever thanks to upgraded USDA standards that require way more whole grains and veggies.

“It’s super important for us to be the leaders on that,” said Sarah. “We have to show the kids that we really care what we are putting out and it’s really delicious food for them to eat.”

Delicious really is the key because Lonnie stresses that food is only nutritious if kids want to eat it.

“I need my students to find foods they actually want to consume,” said Lonnie. “That’s our goal.”