Jeff Mills, the new director of food services for the Washington, DC, Public Schools, is starting to implement a number of initiatives he hopes will begin to revamp the money-losing and roundly criticized nutrition services department, reports the Washington Post. Mills, formerly co-founder of the trendy Biltmore Room restaurant in New York City, was hired by D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee to fill a position that had been vacant for more than a year.
Among his initiatives is increasing the number of schools that serve breakfast in the classroom, creating gardens at as many as a dozen school sites and expanding the number of schools that serve vegetarian options. Down the line, he wants to build a central kitchen where products sourced from local farmers could be processed into ingredients for freshly made school meals.
A bill recently introduced in the Washington, D.C., City Council includes a provision that would convert a city building into such a central kitchen. The nutrition services operation, which is currently contracted to Chartwells Thompson, lost $11.6 million in 2008 and $6 million last year, according to the Post.