Chefs in the Schools

Chefs in the Schools is a Menu Development and Chef Training program, in partnership with the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Food and Nutrition Services and the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy. The initiative builds upon WITS’ 18-year history of working in NYC public schools and the many collective efforts already underway. 

The initiative began with the launch of New York City’s first-ever Chef Council, composed of celebrated chefs, culinary industry professionals, and food activists. The Chef Council has developed scratch-cooked, plant-based, and culturally relevant recipes that will be featured on the NYC public school menu in Fall 2023. 

The Chef Council Members are (in alphabetical order): 

          • Zoe Adjonyoh, Chef and Food Writer
          • ‘Yemisi Awosan, Chef and Founder or Egunsi Foods
          • Kenneth Collins, Chef of Kemited Kitchen
          • Ricardo Diaz, Program Manager, Chef, and RDN, Wellness in the Schools
          • Anup Joshi, Chef of Green Top Farms
          • JJ Johnson, Chef and Television Host
          • Anita Lo, Chef and Restaurateur
          • Tyler Ranson, Sakara Production Chef
          • Grace Ramirez, Chef, Author, and TV Personality
          • Rachael Ray, Chef Council Chair, Television Personality, Author, and Philanthropist
          • Anthony T. Solano, Founder and Owner of ZoJu, Afro-Latino Vegan Restaurant
          • Bill Telepan, Executive Chef, Wellness in the Schools
          • Marion Williams, National Program Director, Wellness in the Schools

Want to join the Chefs in the Schools team? Wellness in the Schools is hiring WITS Chefs to work as culinary instructors in NYC public schools throughout the 5 boroughs! To apply, email your resume to


From kitchen to cafeteria: Chef Council Members Ricardo Diaz, RDN, and Chef Grace Ramirez testing recipes at OFNS Headquarters (left); students sample Chef Anthony Solano’s Pan-Roasted Adobo Garbanzos with Braised Cabbage Slaw at PS 95/Ampark, Bronx.


The Chef Council recipes are being sampled in select schools across the city to collect feedback from students and parents. Recipes will be introduced as a monthly seasonal menu and WITS Chefs will train OFNS school cooks to implement the recipes at all NYC public schools. 

Students are enjoying recipes such as Pan-Roasted Adobo Garbanzos with Braised Cabbage Slaw, Sofrito (in Guisado Chicken and Guisado Red Beans), Green Pesto Rice, Kachumber (Tomato and Cucumber) Salad, Pineapple Rice Medley, Malini’s Curried Chickpeas, Sweet Potato Gumbo, and Black Bean Ropa Vieja. 


Students can decorate their school lunch plate with colorful and nutritious food; a presentation of the Pineapple Rice Medley at New Settlement, Bronx (left), and Chef Anup Joshi’s Chipotle Chicken Caesar Salad (right).