CCSD21 to complete finishing kitchens over summer break

May 3, 2024

Topic: Updates

After previously putting the project on hold as it reviewed “its processes and priorities,” Community Consolidated School District 21 will resume its work on installing “finishing kitchens” at the remaining 12 schools that serve breakfast and lunch but do not have a production kitchen.

These kitchens would allow a foodservice site to receive fresh food from a production kitchen so that it is able to finish the cooking process on site. The district currently uses its production kitchen at London Middle School to make food for the 12 schools and a cold snack for Hawthorne Early Childhood School before sending the prepared food in warming boxes, where it is then reheated, assembled, portioned and served.

“By preparing the food but waiting to cook it until it is shipped to the buildings, the food maintains its nutritional value, flavors, appearance and overall appeal,” said Micheal DeBartolo, assistant superintendent for finance and operations/CSBO.

DeBartolo previously said the installation of these finishing kitchens would give food service management provider OrganicLife the opportunity to provide better and more nutritious food options. Further, it would eliminate the worry about storing the food or keeping it at a certain temperature for an extended period of time. One significant enhancement would be the addition of hot breakfast items for students, rather than the current cold options that are approved by the National School Lunch Program.

The approximate cost of the project is $3.26 million, and work will be completed over the summer.