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Having a DPSCD Frank Conversation about Nutrition and Tasty Food

Kevin Frank, Senior Director of Culinary Services at Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), takes his responsibility to new levels, he provides high-quality and nutritious meals to students across the District. Frank is a member of the DPSCD Office of School Nutrition (OSN).

The OSN supports the educational development of our students in grades K-12, by providing a healthy breakfast and hot nutritional lunch.  Frank and his team ensure the approximately 85,000 meals per day are served hot and in compliance with federal, state, and local health department regulations.

According to the CDC, there is a close relationship between healthy diets and education. Frank says that the District has a wealth of culinary knowledge, this means nutritious meals that taste good.

“From a nutrient density standpoint, we need to find the healthy choices and the tasty choices,” said Frank. “That is why you are seeing a lot more chefs [across the nation] move into school foods. More scratch-based cooking allows for more control of what goes into the food, and this boosts the nutritional value. That is one of the biggest things school foods across the country are working on.”

Frank said that several kinds of fruits and vegetables are grown locally, including through the District’s Farm-to-School Program. Drew Farm, produces roughly 25,000-30,000 pounds of fresh produce every year. Several K-8 students come out to the farm for field trips to see demonstrations about how to prepare foods such as fresh salsa and applesauce.

The farm currently grows tomatoes, different lettuces, spinach, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, asparagus, fig trees, different peppers like bell, jalapeño and sweet; raspberries and blackberries. Herbs like parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage, mint and spearmint. Frank said other fruits and vegetables are being planned for planting, such as strawberries.

When preparing the menus for the District, Frank says besides making nutrient-dense meals, he also is ensuring that the menus are representative of the entire student body.

“I always, to the extent that I can, try to make the menus representative of the demographic of our student body. We have served Indian food such as falafel. We have a diverse student body across the District,” said Frank. “My way to make sure all students are seen, and that the menu needs to be representative of everyone. There is so much that is available out there from a culinary standpoint to expose students and which students are exposed to. Since I have that access, I have the responsibility to do that.”

The Office of School Nutrition serves more than 85,000 healthy meals daily through the following programs:

  • Breakfast in the Classroom - DPSCD was the first school district in the country to make the free Universal Breakfast program available to all students. Breakfast meals are served at the beginning of the school day either in the classroom or the cafeteria.
  • National School Lunch Programs - DPSCD provides free, freshly cooked food items to all students in grades K-12 through our modified scratch cooking program, where meals are developed using homestyle cooking techniques, served fresh and hot on-site to students in every school. Our menus include a healthy array of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole wheat/whole grain bread and pizza, low fat and low sodium meat, meatless options, fresh salads, 100% fruit juices and 1% fat-free and chocolate milk.
  • Supper Programs - DPSCD offers free, healthy “At-Risk, After-School Supper Programs” throughout the district in support of after-school tutorial and enrichment programs.
  • Summer Food Service Program - This direct meal service program ensures the City of Detroit youth is protected from hunger during the summer.

“I think from a day-to-day basis, we provide healthy and nutritional meals on time, and they are filling because some of our students will only have this meal,” said Frank. “We want to make sure the flavor and temperature are perfect. We want to provide the best quality that we can from a taste and quality standpoint.”

For more information on the Department of School Nutrition, click here. You can also follow them on Instagram and Facebook.