An executive chef wants to make school lunch healthier. He’s got to get approval from the kids, first.

Virginia

On Tuesday, Chef Ruffin tested out a vegetarian sausage, or "veenie," with some of the world's toughest critics: second and fourth grade students

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WDVM) — Alexandria City Public Schools recently welcomed a new executive chef to its cafeterias and he’s already got some fresh ideas. Chef Isaiah Ruffin wants more vegetarian options on the menu, less sodium in the lunch items, and about 80 percent of the ingredients to be locally sourced.

On Tuesday, Ruffin tested out a vegetarian sausage, or “veenie,” with some of the world’s toughest critics: second and fourth-grade students at Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology.

The results were pretty split; students either loved it or hated it. Overall, however, they were surprised the sausage wasn’t made of meat.

“I want to try it at all school levels to get feedback from the children and see if they really like it and see if it’s something we can pursue,” said Ruffin.

The recipe comes from local farmer’s market vendor AJ Smith. The sausages are pre-made and sent to the school. They’re never frozen.

This is Ruffin’s first try at cooking for a school system. Before this, he was a personal chef in Northern Virginia and got his training while serving for 13 years in the U.S. Army.

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