New Food: An investigative report on SF Bay private school cafeteria Food


     I know a lot of conversation has come up in my community about what new food options could possibly be going into the new Urban School building on Oak Street opening the fall of 2016. Some wishful thinking is being thrown around if you’re listening, as I have heard all different crazy sorts of ideas for what to do with the space allotted for this endeavor. There are just way too many varying food pallets to satisfy them all. One source of influence in deciding what food to serve could be other high schools in the Bay Area that have different menu options and cafeteria infrastructure.

     Many of you may remember from your visits in 8th grade about what was served that one day, but it raises the question: what do kids from other private schools in the Bay Area eat for their everyday lunches, and how is it different from the way we receive our lunch at Urban.


  Here are my findings:

     Branson: At Branson the system is run very differently than here at Urban. The food culture at Urban is very open, where we could really go anywhere in the Haight or beyond for lunch, time permitting. Branson has a closed campus, constraining kids to food options from the school cafeteria or brought from home. When I applied there, Branson had a chef who would prepare a meal in mass production, and kids could choose between that or their own food.. Now that a food service company has taken over, the food presented is more adaptable to all pallets, with open salad bars and more dishes that are designed to satisfy a more varying range of pallets. The food itself is very healthy, as broccoli, cauliflower, or green string beans are common occurrences.


     Marin Academy: Marin Academy has a very similar setup in comparison to Urban, where lunch on campus is optional, and there are good off campus options within walking distance. One of my favorites, Sol Food, is slightly out of reach by foot, however students driving to school have the ability to leave during the main lunch hour. On campus there is a hot food line system with many options, which vary by day, repeating themselves after a while. Much like our garden here at Urban, students are able to eat outside weather permitting. Similarly, students pay with an administered card, much like our system of student identification numbers. Generally, kids tend to stay on campus more often than not, usually because reaching the best food options in San Rafael cut short any time to spend on campus during lunch.


     Bay: If there are reputations for individual school foods among the bay area private schools, the one that I heard was supposedly the best while applying was Bay. While I shadowed there I was not blown away by what I had eaten, however going back and revisiting that food experience in a school made me realize how good the food is considering its a school cafeteria. The food practically has to be good, otherwise the students there would suffer. Lunch periods are only 25 minutes long, and it follows the more traditional two period lunch system often seen in larger schools needing to rotate people through due to space. The campus is not officially a closed campus, however seniors who are able to drive off campus during break are often cut very short for time and would have a hard time being able to wait around long enough at a sufficient cafe in the area to make it back to school within the allotted time. Because everyone usually ends up eating at school by design, Bay students can be glad they have some of the best food out of all the private schools in the area.