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updated: 9/23/2015 5:00 PM

No ordinary school lunch for Grayslake students

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  • Chef Jean-Marc Loustaunau of Cafe Pyrenees in Libertyville stirs ratatouille while making lunch Wednesday for students at Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake. The meal is part of the school's Farm to Table program utilizing organic vegetables from its farm.

      Chef Jean-Marc Loustaunau of Cafe Pyrenees in Libertyville stirs ratatouille while making lunch Wednesday for students at Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake. The meal is part of the school's Farm to Table program utilizing organic vegetables from its farm.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Second graders Grace Muschlitz, left, and Gwyn Johnson eat beef bourguignon and crème caramel for lunch made by Chef Jean-Marc Loustaunau at Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake on Wednesday. The Cafe Pyrenees chef created the meal as part of the school's Farm to Table.

      Second graders Grace Muschlitz, left, and Gwyn Johnson eat beef bourguignon and crème caramel for lunch made by Chef Jean-Marc Loustaunau at Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake on Wednesday. The Cafe Pyrenees chef created the meal as part of the school's Farm to Table.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • First grader Natasha Voruta receives lunch made Wednesday by Chef Jean-Marc Loustaunau at Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake. The Cafe Pyrenees chef created the meal as part of the school's Farm to Table program.

      First grader Natasha Voruta receives lunch made Wednesday by Chef Jean-Marc Loustaunau at Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake. The Cafe Pyrenees chef created the meal as part of the school's Farm to Table program.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Video: No ordinary school lunch

 
by Gilbert R. Boucher II
gboucher@dailyherald.com

The first and second graders at Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake were hesitant at first Wednesday when it came time to taste the beef bourguignon and ratatouille they were served for lunch.

But it didn't take long for the French cuisine to win them over.

"It's good because the beef is really good and I like it," first grader Katie Mertz said after eating all her lunch.

Chef Jean-Marc of Cafe Pyrenees in Libertyville lent his skills and creativity to cook a "Farm-to-Table" lunch for students, staff and parents at Prairie Crossing.

"It is very interesting to do something like this and a good experience," said Chef Loustaunau, as he stirred ratatouille in the small kitchen. "It is different from what I am doing at the restaurant because you are doing it for a lot of students.

"I had to modify the beef bourguignon and not include the wine," he added.

More than 300 lunches -- which also featured mesclun salad and crème caramel -- were served by parent volunteers.

The Farm to Table program is nationally recognized for its philosophy of using locally grown, organic produce to create meals for staff and students.

The organic produce is primarily planted, grown, and harvested from classroom gardens on PCCS' campus and the nearby farm, with involvement by the students throughout the process.

Cafe Pyrenees and Loustaunau is the first guest restaurant/chef invited to partner with PCCS to prepare Farm to Table lunches.

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