NYC Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks Announce the Launch of the WITS Chef Council


17 years in the making, Wellness in the Schools is becoming the little nonprofit that could. 

This summer, Wellness in the Schools assembled New York City’s first-ever Chef Council, to develop scratch-cooked, plant-based, and culturally relevant recipes to children in all NYC public schools within the next year. The Council, an initiative designed by Wellness in the Schools, is chaired by Rachael Ray, a longtime friend and donor partner. On board are celebrated chefs, culinary industry professionals, and food activists. 

Together, we are creating over 100 recipes that will be tested in schools across all five boroughs during this school year. After feedback from students and parents, the recipes will be introduced as a monthly seasonal menu and WITS Chefs will then train school cooks on implementing the new recipes onsite in all public school locations. 

NYC Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor David C. Banks shared the news together with Executive Director Nancy Easton to a crowd of WITS family members, friends, and amazing supporters at our 13th Annual Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Top NYC Chefs and dear friends surrounded the room, enjoying stellar dishes of roasted squash from Lighthouse, “Eat the Rainbow” wraps from Sakara, an insalata stagionale from Barbuto & Jams, and more. Eating healthy and eating well was a highlight of the night and a sneak peek of the delicious and nutritious foods that will make a presence in school cafeterias soon. 

“Healthy and nourishing meals are essential in ensuring our students can succeed both inside and outside the classroom,” said Chancellor Banks. “I’m grateful to the Chefs Council for the work they will do as part of this initiative and to our food service workers, who work day in and day out to ensure our students are well fed and cared for.” 

This announcement comes at a time when the excitement of back to school is here for all of us, and as we are all still recovering from and learning to adapt to the challenges a pandemic brought to the world, this city, and in making sure every child has access to food that is both nutritious and that tastes good. We are here to do just that: it is a new school year and a new chance to feed kids real food on an even larger scale. 

We tell the story of our work by featuring one extraordinary school partner. PS 70X, under the care of Principal Roxanne Ledda and the leadership of Head Cook Fitzroy Abraham, is a great example of how Wellness in the Schools partners with each of our schools. See our video with PS 70X here