by Rebecca Cooper
Cathal Armstrong may seem more suited to the type of fine dining meal he served to the Obamas at his Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, but a far more routine meal has been nagging him lately: school lunch.
After investigating how to provide healthier school lunches for the past several years through his nonprofit, Chefs as Parents, Armstrong has found a proving ground: the Field School, an expensive, private school in Northwest D.C. Armstrong has been providing two of three lunch options to the school’s students and teachers since class started in September.
Armstrong’s Eat Good Food Group has teamed up with Cozy Feast, the office lunch delivery service we told you about earlier this year, to deliver the meals to the school. For $5 per person there is a hot lunch option made at Eve and as well as three bento box-style lunches with fresh sandwiches and sides.
The group is also a preferred vendor for Field School’s third lunch option, which is currently provided by parents. Those lunches are made at Society Fair by culinary director Shannon Overmiller, the former Majestic chef who departed and recently returned to Eat Good Food Group.
The team has been providing at least 175 lunches every day, and in some cases as many as 300, Armstrong said.
Of course, providing healthier options for wealthy private school students who can afford the pricier lunches wasn’t exactly what Armstrong had in mind when he first caught the healthier school lunch option bug. But trying something new in the public school system proved daunting.
“I felt like it was going to be an argument every day, and I don’t have the time for that,” Armstrong said of his talks with Alexandria a few years ago. “So we put the brakes on that idea and focused on … going to school and teaching kids about food, community outreach, educating lower-income families about food health and food safety.”
That was fulfilling, he added, but he was always trying to figure out the school lunch puzzle. With a private school, the pilot project will help him work out the cost issues.