You don’t need fancy equipment to cook nutritious food from scratch

11 Jan You don’t need fancy equipment to cook nutritious food from scratch

When schools, hospitals and other community institutions cook nutritious food from scratch, they change our food system as we know it. Schools impart lifelong healthy eating habits onto children. Patients eat nutrient-dense foods cooked with care. Everyone wins.

But often, I hear institutional leaders say that their kitchens' lack of fancy equipment holds them back. They say they'd like to make the switch to scratch-cooked food, but they just don't have the infrastructure.

Let me be clear: You do not need a big, fancy kitchen outfitted with restaurant equipment to cook food from scratch. This is true even if you are feeding hundreds of people at once.

Here's what you do need: An oven. A four-burner stove. Leadership.

Meeting you where you are

The truth is, you could cook incredible food from scratch in a closet if you have the right leadership in place.

We have helped countless institutions go from serving pre-packaged junk food to healthy meals that benefit every aspect of the food system — meals that are loved by their customers.

How do we do it? We meet our clients where they are and work with what they have. Sometimes we make relatively small equipment purchases to get things going. But mostly, we help clients to embrace their own resourcefulness, creativity, humility and willingness to take risks. With these attributes in place, cooks can overcome lack of experience, lack of skills and lack of equipment.

Commitment to health

What matters above all is a commitment to the work of feeding kids (and all other customers) the food they deserve. Changing our food system for the better requires passion and integrity. Without these qualities, any obstacle can get in your way. Lack of equipment is just one of them.

Once our clients see the benefits of serving delicious, locally sourced, scratch-cooked food within budget, some of them invest in equipment that makes this process easier. And some of them make it work with sheer leadership.

Whatever stage your kitchen is in, it doesn't have to hold you back from your goal of making delicious, healthy food from scratch — food that changes the system for all of us.

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