Sapphire at SchoolTM has been selected to provide fresh and healthy meals for Sage Hill School in Newport Coast, Calif., beginning in August for the 2010/2011 school year. Developed in 2007 by Chef Azmin Ghahreman, owner of the restaurant Sapphire Laguna in Laguna Beach, Calif., Sapphire at School is a revolutionary program that provides students with a wide variety of healthy, restaurant-quality, globally-influenced cuisine prepared daily by professional chefs.
“Teaching children about food and nutrition has been a passion of mine for many years,” said Chef Azmin. “I believe that kids should be given the skills and education they need to make smart, informed decisions about the foods they eat. Every child deserves a healthy start.”
Sapphire at School was selected by Sage Hill School after an extensive search by the school’s Food Service Advisory Committee, which was co-chaired by Chief Operating Officer Diane Shank and Student Body President Ben Capalidi and was comprised of 18 students, four faculty representatives, three parents and a trustee. Out of the five vendors that submitted proposals, Sapphire at School was selected because of its ever-changing menu that can be adapted for special needs and diets, as well as its fair pricing, environmental awareness and operation times. Chef Azmin and his staff met with the committee, provided samples of meals and answered questions from students, faculty and parents.
“Our students played a big part in this decision-making process and selected Sapphire at School because it offers a menu with a diverse selection of tasty and healthy food,” Shank said. “The program will help the students develop healthy eating habits that will stay with them throughout their lives.”
Chef Azmin’s landmark menus and educational curriculum are based on the Mediterranean Food Pyramid, relying on healthy whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, nutritious legumes, herbs and spices, accompanied by servings of fish and seafood, poultry and eggs, organic dairy products, lean meats, and, in spare amounts, sweets. Each meal and snack is prepared daily by expert chefs, using fresh, local ingredients that are never shipped. He is always on the lookout for new food sources and ingredients to incorporate into the Sapphire at School menus. In addition to Sage Hill School, other participating schools in Orange County include St. Anne School in Laguna Niguel, Harbor Day School in Corona del Mar, and St. Margaret’s Episcopal School and Capistrano Valley Schools in San Juan Capistrano. In many of the schools, the comprehensive program also offers unique hands-on educational classes that expand students’ knowledge of food and nutrition, and increases their awareness of flavors from around the world.