Daniel Giusti, the American chef de cuisine at Noma, the on-again, off-again best restaurant in the world (this year, it’s number three), will leave his post at the end of the year and return home to Washington, where he will turn to an entirely different area of the food industry — school lunches.
In January, Giusti will leave Noma — which is currently undergoing its own major transformation — to launch his own company, Brigaid, focusing on improving the nutritional standards set for American schoolchildren. Brigaid will either renovate or build entirely new kitchens inside schools, and then hire professional chefs to work in them, a project that will require serious capital from investors whom Giusti is currently courting.
The task is not a small one, considering the surprisingly complicated politics behind giving children good food, and the fact that the USDA gives schools $3.07 a day for each student eligible to receive free lunch, and 29 cents for each student who pays full price.
Among his mentors, Giusti has turned to Sam Kass, the former White House chef and Obama’s nutrition policy advisor, and current senior food analyst for NBC News. “There’s a whole host of challenges that make it very, very difficult” to make necessary changes, Kass told the Washington Post. “But at the same time, there’s a culture of thinking in the school nutrition world that is a problem in itself. Someone coming from the outside with new ideas is good.”