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News and Speeches

Chancellor Walcott Showcases NYC School Food Reforms to France’s Junior Minister for the Food Industry during His First Visit to NYC Public Schools


Representatives of France, Known for its Cuisine, Sample NYC’S Healthy School Lunch at the Queens College School for Math, Science and Technology

Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today hosted a visit by French Junior Minister of for the Food Industry Guillaume Garot to observe some of Mayor Bloomberg’s school food reforms that offer students healthy meals in school. This was the first time that a top official from France, known for its outstanding cuisine, dined in a NYC public school cafeteria.

The Chancellor and Minister enjoyed a lunch with youngsters at a camp located at the Queens College School for Math, Science and Technology. The lunch included roasted barbequed chicken, broccoli crowns, sweet plantains, rice medley, a variety of fresh vegetables from the school’s salad bar, and assorted fresh fruit. Afterwards, Minister Garot toured John Bowne High School’s farm, the only working farm at a NYC public school.

“It is my pleasure and honor to welcome Mr. Garot to our schools and show him the innovative work we’ve accomplished to provide healthy and delicious options for children,” Chancellor Walcott said. “We are a national leader in school food reform and are proud to show the improvements we’ve made in school kitchens. For example, we have reformulated our menus to reduce sodium and eliminate trans fats, and we have installed more than 1,000 salad bars in our schools.”

The Chancellor and Minister were joined at the event by Bertrand Lortholary, Consul General of France in New York; Christophe Malvezin, Agricultural Counselor of the Embassy; Eric Goldstein, CEO of the Department of Education’s Office of SchoolFood; Council Member Peter Koo, and Principal Helene Jacob of the Queens College School for Math, Science and Technology.

“I am much honored and very happy to be able to discover the remarkable work that’s being done on the quality of food for children,” Minister Garot said. “For me, everything starts with education, and that is the focus I have given to my tenure as Minister. Our goal is twofold: a healthy plate and a full plate. This food challenge is put into action here in service of the youngest. The city of New York can be proud of fighting this battle.”

“Our Office of SchoolFood and our kitchen staff have worked hard over the past nine years to offer students a variety of healthy options,” Deputy Chancellor of Operations Kathleen

Grimm said. “This year, we have also provided whole grain pasta and organic yogurt.”

“We serve 860,000 meals a day, and as the largest school system in the country, we made changes that have helped change the school food industry by reformulating menus to meet new nutritional standards,” CEO of the Office of SchoolFood Eric Goldstein said.

"Our kids need healthy meals in school to achieve their full potential as future members of a 21st century workforce,” Council Member James F. Gennaro said. “The Office of SchoolFood and the staff of schools throughout our City have done a great job in providing many different healthy and delicious options for kids. I want to thank the Chancellor for helping to lead the way in our City's own healthy food revolution."

“Over the past few years, the New York City Department of Education has become a global symbol due to its innovative and healthful School Foods program,” Council Member Peter Koo said. “I am elated to know that the Department is providing quality food to children, so that they have the fuel needed to have a successful learning experience, and am honored to have had the pleasure of partaking in Minister Garot’s visit.”

The Office of SchoolFood began introducing school food reforms in 2004 by replacing whole milk with skim milk and white bread with whole wheat. All fryers were removed from school kitchens and French fries are now baked, though they have the same look of regular fries. In addition, fresh fruit is served at both breakfast and lunch.