By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The School District of Philadelphia is partnering with celebrity chef Mark Vetri with the aim of bringing healthy meals and a family-style meal setting to students in every Philadelphia public school.

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Back in the day, lunch ladies in hair nets would cook and serve meals to kids. And in recent years at many schools, volunteers have simply been heating up pre-made meals — meals that aren’t exactly a hit with students.

“It looks like fake food,” said one girl today. “We didn’t hardly eat anything. The food went straight in the trash.”

Enter celebrity chef Marc Vetri.

“We’re serving some baked ziti,” he told KYW Newsradio today. “Obviously you always want to have a salad. The vegetable is broccoli, and for dessert we have some fruit and yogurt.”

 

(Chef Marc Vetri, left, with Philadelphia schools superintendent William Hite.  Photo by Paul Kurtz)

(Chef Marc Vetri, left, with Philadelphia schools superintendent William Hite. Photo by Paul Kurtz)

 

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The famous restaurateur has made inroads at charter schools in recent years, dishing out freshly made, nutritious meals.

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Today, he rolled out his initiative for the first time at a Philadelphia public school, Ziegler Elementary.

“We would like to take this out to the entire school district,” Vetri said today.

He says his process affects not only what the kids are eating, but how they’re eating it.

“They’re eating around a round table, which lets them interact with each other a little bit more,” he explained.

And on this day, most of the buzz was about the food:

“Delicious — this food is really good.”

“I’m not gonna bring my own lunch. I’m gonna stay here and eat whatever they got.”

“And their salads are sooooo goood!”

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