Podcast Episode 56

How the Renegade Lunch Lady is Fixing Today’s School Food Crisis

Ann Cooper | 37 Minutes | August 23, 2022

In today’s episode, we speak with internationally-recognized author, educator, and public speaker, Ann Cooper—recognized by the New York Times as today’s “Renegade Lunch Lady.”

Ann’s life mission is dedicated to making quality, delicious, nutritious, and sustainable school food accessible for all children. As the Director of Nutrition Services for the Boulder Valley School District, she launched the widely praised “School Food Project”, which replaced highly processed lunches with healthy scratch-cooked meals. Since retiring, Ann continues to focus on working through the Chef Ann Foundation and Lunch Lessons LLC.

Listen as Ann talks about examining our current society’s food culture, improving children’s food literacy, and ways we can fix our school food crisis.

Watch the podcast episode:

Video thumbnail
Notes & Transcript


Kirk Bachmann: Hi everyone, my name is Kirk Bachmann, and welcome back to The Ultimate Dish. In today’s episode, we’re speaking with Chef Ann Cooper, also known as the Renegade Lunch Lady. Ann is an internationally recognized author, educator, public speaker, and advocate for healthy food for all children. She was honored by the National Resources Defense Council, selected as a Kellogg Food and Society Policy Fellow, and awarded an honorary doctorate from SUNY Cobleskill for her work on sustainable agriculture.

As the director of nutrition services for the Boulder Valley School District, she launched the widely-praised School Food Project, which replaced highly processed lunches with healthy, scratch-cooked meals. Although she has since retired, Ann continues working through the Chef Ann Foundation and Lunch Lessons LLC to develop solutions to the food school crisis, and help change children’s relationship to food.

Join us today as we chat with Chef Ann about her passion for fixing the school food crisis, how chefs can make a difference, and her vision for the future of children’s nutrition.

And there she is. Good morning! I’m exhausted after that intro, Chef. My goodness, there’s a lot there! How are you?

Ann Cooper: I’m great. Thanks for having me here with you today.

Kirk Bachmann: Absolutely. We’re honored to have you. I know that you’re kind of taking it easy. You’re over in the western side of Colorado, but I’m always going to consider you a Boulderite for all of the great work that you did. And on a personal note, I have little ones that are going into fourth grade and into seventh grade. Because of so much work that you and your team has done over the years, we feel somewhat safe and happy and relieved that when they go to school, they’ll have a good meal that’s not filled with lots of processed [foods].

I was watching one of your morning shows in Denver where you had a food processor sitting up on the table and you had all these cans or jars filled with all these – I don’t even know what they were – from salt to preservatives, just pouring it in to emphasize how much stuff, unfortunately bad stuff, had gone into our kids’ lunches. It’s just terrible.

Ann Cooper: Certainly school food pre-covid has gotten much better. Boulder does an extraordinary job. But there are a lot of schools where kids don’t get healthy food, and that’s just a travesty.

Finding a Home in Food

Kirk Bachmann: It really is. I have so many questions, but before we go there, when you look at your body of work and your resume, there are several parts that are enough for most people’s careers. We’re going to go back a few years. You’re professionally trained. You went to the Culinary Institute of America. There was some stuff even before, the Putney Inn. The Putney Inn, this beautiful little inn in Vermont. You were there for a decade. Again, that’s a career for many people. I’d love to hear about where you were. This is so interesting to our students, what your journey process was. Where you were, where you are, where you think you’re going. But the Putney Inn, Telluride Film Festival here in beautiful Colorado for a period of time.

Can you rewind the clock just a little bit? You’re finishing up culinary school. Did you always want to go to culinary school? Did you know exactly what you wanted to do? Then maybe weave how you were going to save the world, and how that fell into it as well. No pressure. Zero pressure.

Ann Cooper: I want to go back even a little further. No, I didn’t always know that I wanted to do anything, like many young people. I was kind of a bad child in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, and I never actually graduated high school. I got thrown out for doing things that you might not get thrown out for at this point.

Kirk Bachmann: So you were really bad! You were bad! Chef Ann was bad. Okay.

Ann Cooper: I was smoking pot, but not really bad, but bad enough to get thrown out of high school a few times, to the point where I just gave up. I decided my avocation was going to be ski bum. That’s how I got out to Colorado. I hitchhiked.

This was in 1972. I decided my avocation was ski bum, and I hitchhiked out to Telluride, Colorado. I got here, and I called home for money, and my parents basically said, “What?! You got thrown out of high school. You just hitchhiked across the country, and now you want money? No! Figure it out.” Absolutely rightfully so.

I had never had a job. I had never cooked. I didn’t realized a ski bum wasn’t an avocation, so I had to get a job. I heard there was a job being assistant breakfast cook at a restaurant. I said, “Well, I’m sure I could do that.” I talked my way into an assistant breakfast cook position in Telluride. I just found my home in food. I went from that job with the same owner, who owned numerous restaurants, to become a lunch cook and a dinner cook and a pastry cook. I just feel in love with it.

I was dyslexic and had ADD and ADHD and didn’t learn like other kids, but all of a sudden, I found a home in food. I often say it saved my life.

That was in Telluride. I started working at the festivals. I got a job with a ski resort. I started doing big catering. I catered parties of up to 20,000 with the film festival and backstage for the Grateful Dead. Backstage for the Grateful Dead could be its own podcast, but we’ll just say that it was kind of crazy.

I worked the Telluride Film Festival, the Bluegrass Festival, the Mushroom Festival. And the Mushroom Festival at that point was all your dreams about a mushroom festival. And the Mountainfilm Festival.

So I did all of that, and then I broke both my legs, one after the other. One hang-gliding, one skiing. I decided that maybe ski bum wasn’t an avocation, and I decided I wanted to go to culinary school.

So now we’re at 1979, and I applied to CIA, and was immediately rejected because I didn’t have a high school diploma. So then I went, got my GED, got into the Culinary Institute. Then, I was very, very good at culinary, but it was a very male-dominated school at that point. There were no female culinary instructors. Because I was doing very well in the school, I should be able to get any company. Holland America Cruise Line came on campus, and they wouldn’t interview me because I was a female. They didn’t hire women. I went to the president of the school and said, “They shouldn’t be here at all.” The school backed me up.

I eventually got a position as a cook, not a chef, upon graduation from CIA. Went out as a cook, chef de cuisine, a chef de partie. I spent two years going around the years. I learned food in every country from the chefs who were there. I was really classically trained, trained by men. Then, eventually, after I got off of the cruise ships and really knew at that point that food was my life, I came back to Colorado. At one point, I went back to Telluride. I ran all the food service there. Then, I came to Grand Junction, got my first executive chef position when I was in my 20s. Then it just went on from there. Very, very white tablecloth.

In 1990, I went to the Putney Inn that you talked about. When I got to the Putney Inn, I really started thinking about local food. That’s how I got to where I am today. I started thinking about local food. There was an event where one chef from every state that was in sustainable local food, and this was before farm-to-table was even a thing. We all got invited to cook at the White House. I did that. I was at the Putney Inn. Everything was white tablecloth.

From White Tablecloths to Renegade Lunch Lady

I wrote some books, and I started getting really known for farm-to-table, before that was a word, and really sustainable food. In 1999, I got a call from the Ross School in East Hampton, New York. They asked me to come and build their program. I literally looked at the phone and said, “What? Me? Lunch lady? No way!” They called back, and they said, “Come and see. Come and meet the founder, Courtney Ross. Come and see what we’re doing?”

Eventually, in 1999, I dropped out of white tablecloth, celebrity chef thing, and became a lunch lady. That’s when I was also nicknamed the Renegade Lunch Lady, because I was being interviewed by the New York Times. I said, “No, I’m done being a fancy, white tablecloth chef. I’m going to be a lunch lady.” They said, “If you’re a lunch lady, it’s the Renegade Lunch Lady.” That’s how it all began.

Kirk Bachmann: I absolutely love the story. So many parallels. You said ‘72 you got to Colorado as a ski bum. I got here in ‘73. You were in Telluride, I was in Crested Butte. The same thing, trying to find my way.

We had a restaurant back in the Gunnison, Crested Butte area. Did you find back then, chef, that there were some local things happening? Were you sourcing some of your products from local products back then? I know we were trying to do that in the Crested Butte area, but it was more related to developing relationships with beef growers. There were no farmers’ markets. Crested Butte did some cool things, but what about Telluride? What was the vibe like around food back then in the ‘70s? Were you able to source some local stuff?

Ann Cooper: We really weren’t sourcing much local. As the film festival went on, we started really doing it. In the beginning, there wasn’t really anything. Telluride was so far away from where food was grown, really. There were some ranchers, and there were certainly animal ranchers, beef ranches. It was really so small. There weren’t any farmers’ markets.

As the years went on with the film festival, we were able to pre-order and source. The year before, we would call the farmers and say, “This is what we’re going to need. We’re going to need it in August. Here’s what it is.” We would send trucks to Grand Junction to pick up food. Over to Palisade. We were able to really do local stuff, but it was a number of years in.

Kirk Bachmann: That’s great feedback. It’s interesting how it started to begin. For me, just as a sidebar, it started almost subtly. I mentioned the ranchers, but then I had some folks who grew some herbs. I didn’t go to them, they sort of came to me. Back then, people would come to the back door. The guy was foraging some mushrooms. Then I had somebody show up with trout. I’d be like, “Should I put that on the menu? Shouldn’t that come off of a truck?” We all had to learn. “Should I have my guests sign a disclosure that this fish actually came out of the river at 8 o’clock this morning?” It was a lot of learning.

The Renegade Lunch Lady. I just love this story. Again, ‘99, long before people were even thinking about this. Can you talk about your time at the Ross School? When did this become like, “Oh my gosh! This is not only a passion. I don’t only dig this. I need to fix this”? Did that happen there? Take us through that.

Ann Cooper: First of all, the Ross School was nothing like a regular school district. It was founded by Courtney Ross whose deceased husband was Steven Ross, who made Time and Warner Time-Warner. She became one of the richest people in the world, and she decided she wanted to change education through five pillars. One of the pillars was healthy eating and wellness.

We didn’t have a food budget. We were spending about $15 a day to feed kids, and a regular school is $5. We had all these chefs. I had 13 chefs working. We were doing this restaurant-quality food. We were also doing events and catering for Mrs. Ross. We did parties for Quincy Jones and Barbra Streisand. There were all of these big events. It was very high profile; East Hampton is high profile, right outside of the city.

People started hearing about what we were doing because there were numerous articles about it. Alice Waters came out from California to check it out. The New York City Schools came to see what we were doing.

All of a sudden, it was like, “Wow! We can change how kids eat all across the country.” And that’s what we started to do. It was very exciting. I realized that I really had given up the white tablecloth chef thing. All I was going to do now was school food. And that was it.

Kirk Bachmann: Coming back to that, you were a classically trained chef, and then you traveled to hone your craft, if you will. In your mind, were you thinking back then, rather than opening boxes and throwing them on a sheet pan and putting them in the oven, I can apply techniques – classical techniques, basic techniques, foundational techniques – to whole foods and make a difference? Is that where you started going?

Ann Cooper: I had this background in very big food operations. Again, catering for 20,000. I knew how to do really good classical food. I knew how to do it in a really big way. I knew how to scratch cook. I knew how to run a budget. I figured all of that together could make a different.

Now, at the Ross School, because we had an unlimited budget, I could really grow this idea that you could feed kids really good food and they’d eat it. That you could have a garden, and kids would grow it and eat it. That you could buy most of your food from local farmers. That’s how it started.

Then when Alice came and saw this, she said, “You ought to come out to Berkeley.” So after five years in New York, I went out to Berkeley and started working at the Chez Panisse Foundation, and eventually became the director of nutrition services for the Berkeley. Unified School District. That was my first entree into school food, real school food and a small budget, all the people working, all the USDA criteria. That was a rude awakening.

Overcoming Push-Back

Kirk Bachmann: What an amazing experience! Ann Cooper and Alice Waters together. Wow!

As we said earlier, I’m so happy that you’re here. I”m so happy for the work and the fact that my children, my young children, reap the benefits of your hard work. The impact, Chef, that you’ve made on the Boulder Valley School District is impeccable. You hear “Annie Cooper.” You don’t hear, “Chef Ann Cooper.” You’re Annie Cooper. I’m a Boulderite now, relocated from Chicago several years ago. My extended family has been in Colorado since the ‘70s. I’m a chef, educator, husband, father. It’s so important in our home and many homes to make sure that our children have access to healthy food options. And that they’re aware of what’s available to them, because in so many parts of the country our kids are just not aware. I would say that we’re very grateful. Boulder is very unique in that way. Many cities across the country are.

You made sure that our collective ethos in this city of encouraging sustainable food production practices, equitable access to healthy food, and creating this strong food system was implemented in our schools. I could just say that, and it’s really easy to write it. But OMG! That’s a lot of work! And it costs money, and it takes time, and it’s training. It’s not as easy as just saying, “So it shall be.”

Sorry, I get really excited about this, because you’re working with children that help me then, ultimately, help me work with young adult learners who then come to culinary school. They’re, “Hey, Chef Bachmann. When are we going to the farm? When are we going to the farmers’ market?” Because they are more educated today.

So when you started, Chef, working with school districts, what were some of the major challenges that you had to overcome? I can just imagine.

Ann Cooper: When I started in both Berkeley. and Boulder, but I’ll focus my comments on Boulder. When I started in both, they were serving almost exclusively highly-processed packaged food. We took Boulder from that really bad food -and Berkeley., home of Alice Waters – from that really bad food to scratch cooking.

Like you said, it’s not magic. It’s not like Tinkerbell. “Boom! Here, it’s going to be great.” There was a tremendous amount of push-back. When I took out chocolate milk, I got death threats, literally. When I stopped serving dessert every day, at the board meeting where it was announced that we weren’t going to have desserts every day, all kinds of press was there. All the trucks with their big things were there, saying I was the Cupcake Nazi. It was crazy!

Push-back from the staff in the beginning because we said we were going to serve raw chicken. They thought, “You’re going to poison everyone.” “What, you don’t cook chicken from raw at home? What are you talking about? Of course we can.”

It was a long, long process. I was there for 12 years, but the first two or three were hell. I was working almost 24/7. I had a number of chef consultants come in to help us. We had to retrain the whole staff. We had to redo the org chart. We had to redo the budgets. We had to redo all of the human resources, job descriptions, everything. It’s not easy.

And they were cooking all over the place. We went from cooking in 32 kitchens, which is not efficient and doesn’t produce the consistent product, down to five, then to three. Then last year, down to one, right before I left, when we opened the culinary center. And the food just kept getting better and better and better. More local and local and local. When I came to Boulder, they were spending about $7500 a year on produce for 30,000 kids. When I left, it was about three quarters of a million. When I came to Boulder, nothing was purchased locally. When I left, 20 percent of all food was sourced regionally. It’s a tremendous amount of work.

I was honored and fortunate to work with an amazing team. All of my district managers and executive chefs were just really incredible. The staff on the front lines in the schools working with the kids were so passionate and so good. Not all of them. There was a lot of push-back in the beginning from everybody. From the kids, from their parents, from the employees, from the administration. But we got through it all. You see the program as it is today. It’s really remarkable.

Kirk Bachmann: Just to emphasize the point of where you’ve come. 32 spaces down to five, and now you have the beautiful facility on Arapaho there. How many meals are being prepared in that facility on a daily basis during school?

Ann Cooper: Here’s my guess, because I don’t have the exact numbers of what they were doing as last year ended. But between breakfast, lunch, snack, dinners, whatever, I would say about 20,000 meals a day.

Kirk Bachmann: Unbelievable. Unbelievable. Again, another career. Another chapter in another book. We’ve book working a little bit here at the school with Steve [00:22:34] and I don’t know if he’s still there.

Ann Cooper: Yeah, he is.

A Culture of Food Literacy

Kirk Bachmann: Really thoughtful through the pandemic and all of that and we’ll continue to work with him. What do you think is missing or was missing – maybe it’s not missing any more? Definitely our conversation is robust. What’s missing in our thinking – and I’m talking society – about how we feed and nurture our kids? Is it different in different parts of the world as far as you’re concerned? Are Europeans more concerned? Are we catching up? Are we ahead of them? Are we leading the way now?

Ann Cooper: We’re certainly not leading the way. I think it is different in different parts of the world. I think it goes back to this idea of food culture. When you look at the French or Italians, Asians, they have a deep-rooted food culture. They’ve always had family meals. They weren’t into fast food, like Americans have been. Those countries, they make such a point of sitting down at family meals and eating real food, not going out to fast food. Having multi-generations sitting at a table and embracing multi-generational living and dining.

And you see that in their school food. In a lot of France and a lot of Italy, they have three-course lunches. Lunch times are an hour and a half. A lot of places, kids go home for an hour and half. That’s just not how America has fed its kids. One out of every four meals is eaten in fast food in America. It’s mind-boggling that that’s the case. One out of every four meals is eaten in a car. One out of every four meals in front of a blue screen. What’s left? How are we teaching our kids about food and the importance?

There’s very little food education in schools. I think that we need that. We need to have food literacy in every grade level, grade appropriate, to teach them about food and where it comes from and how it should taste. How it interacts with the body. The interaction between the planet and farmers and farming and climate change and health. All of that. We don’t teach that. We teach things that we may never use again, but we don’t teach food literacy, and we need to.

The School Food Project

Kirk Bachmann: Really well said. You are making a difference.

I want to connect the dots and make sure that I have all of the different impacts that you’ve had clear. You built a team that launched the School Food Project in overhauling not only the food served for school lunches, but also – as you just mentioned – how students think about food. Can you give us a few thoughts on the School Food Project? What did it take to make that happen? Working with local farms, financial challenges, covid out of nowhere. I’m pretty sure you worked with Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative a few years ago as it relates to salad bars in schools. Can you talk a little bit about that specific project, the School Food Project, and where that sits today?

Ann Cooper: Two different things. School Food Project and Chef Ann Foundation. The School Food Project was really built with this idea that if you’re going to remake school food, and you’re going to need outside funding, we needed a way to fundraise that wasn’t so Boulder-Valley-School-District-in-your-face. We needed another face to the school food. We needed a marketing campaign around school food. We needed to market to the kids and the parents, and that’s how the School Food Project was born.

We were very fortunate in the early years. We raised a couple million dollars to help overhaul the school district’s food program. After that, we were raising between $115-$250 thousand a year to do projects. We overhauled the greenhouse so the kids could come and see how food was grown. We had a plant sale every year. We were putting money into kitchen. We did 200 educational events a year with the kids. Salad bar tastings. Chef tastings. Chef demos. We did an Iron Chef competition with the kids. We paid for kids to go to farmers. We paid for farmers to come into the cafeterias. There were 34 school gardens in the district of 52 schools.

All of that was really about the educational and marketing component, not necessarily about the cooking, but about everything else you needed to do to really change the food system.

Working for Better School Food

Kirk Bachmann: Product knowledge is so, so important. You’ve answered a lot of the questions I was thinking about. If you had to give some advice to other cooks, to other chefs, to other parents, other school districts, to get involved and try to replicate some of the programs or partial programs that you’ve launched here in Boulder, what would that be? Baby steps. For certain districts that haven’t moved in any direction yet, it’s so important that the movement continues. I’m sure the Foundation and others that have worked with you over the years are still becoming the evangelists for this movement. For the sake of our chat today, are there one, two, or three podium items that we could really focus on and make a difference quickly?

Ann Cooper: Yes. First of all, the Chef Ann Foundation, that’s what we do. We launched in 2009 and we are in every single state, 13,000 schools touching 3.3 million kids. We have a number of big programs that can help school districts start to move, help young cooks who think they want to go into school food, or even chefs that want to make a career change.

We have the Lunch Box, which is a web portal, with hundreds and hundreds of school food recipes and all kinds of information to be able to make change. We have the School Food Institute that has 11 online courses. Like what you guys do, online courses to teach people about school food, no matter where they are. We have the Salad Bars to Schools project, which you mentioned that we launched with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign.

We are launching a new project around bulk milk to get the little baby cartons out of schools, and we just got a big grant to do that. We’ve got a project called Scale, which is a self-assessment tool. School districts can take this self assessment and then get answers to where they are in the continuum so they can start to make change. A big project we have is Get Schools Cooking. At Get Schools Cooking, we take five to seven school districts a year and take them through a three-year process of actually changing their school district.

The latest project we just got funding for – we found out for sure we had funding last week – is called Healthy School Food Pathways. This is happening in California, where we’re taking young people through pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs in conjunction with community colleges to get them educated to go into school food. And also a fellowship program to take management-level people in school food to director level.

All that’s happening. But the one thing that every single person can do, whether they are in culinary or school food or no kids or have kids, or were a kid, is really we have to go back to universal meals. We have to have healthy school meals for all. During covid, that was the case. The USDA dropped it as of July 1, so not all meals are free anymore. Three states – California, Vermont, and Maine – actually instituted [free universal school meals.] Colorado has it on the ballot for November. I actually helped with that.

We need to make sure that, first of all, every single kid in every single school every single day has food that’s free. Secondly, and maybe just as important, that it’s all healthy and scratch-cooked. And we need culinarians to help us do that. We need young culinarians to know that school food is a career option, and it’s a wonderful career option in many, many different ways. That’s what we need.

Really Retired?

Kirk Bachmann: Absolutely brilliant. It is just so funny. Beautiful response to the question that everyone will ask. We’ll make 100 percent sure that we have several links in the podcast when it goes out to viewers so they can just click and access a lot of this information. It’s so funny because I was literally going to pivot, and you already answered it. I was going to pivot to what can we do at home. All the pressure shouldn’t be on our school districts. As chef parents, we have an unfair advantage. We kind of know.

But I can remember years ago when I was running a school in Chicago, we made a big movement. We had about 2000 students there, and we made a big move to change all of the vending machines to be non-GMO and healthy solutions. Again, it was tough! I can remember the student council pouring into my office thanking us for thinking of them, but also reminding us that while we may be cooking healthy here, and you’ve put snacks available to us that are healthier in nature, but as soon as we go home, that message hasn’t gotten to my parents yet, or to my grandparents, so on and so forth.

It’s really everybody’s responsibility is what I’m hearing. If you think for one minute that we’re going to believe that you’re in retirement…! I’d like to see you when you were fully engaged and busy. Nothing of our conversation today reflects any sort of image of you retiring. Thank you!

While we’re talking about that, what are you looking forward to when you take the chef coat? You’re in Grand Junction, beautiful part of the country, nicer, milder climate, lot’s of room for exercise. You mentioned Palisade, Paonia, Hotchkiss, Cedar Ridge. That’s where all of our tree fruits come from. Are you working on something secret? Or are you really relaxing? Are you on a golf course?

Ann Cooper: No, I’m certainly not on a golf course. I still work for the foundation. The work I do now is with the Chef Ann Foundation. The next big project that’s going to be announced really, really soon is going to be a big project in California.

But, I actually am retired from school districts. I don’t have 200 plus employees anymore, so I have a lot more time to work on the foundation, do some other things. But, I love to hike. I love to ski. I have a place in Vail. I love to bike. I ride almost every day. If I don’t ride, I hike. I’m doing some traveling now that covid is – I don’t know if it’s behind us but-

Kirk Bachmann: It’s over there. It’s over there.

Ann Cooper: I’m vaxxed and double-boosted, so I feel like I can go places.

Chef Ann Cooper’s Ultimate Dish

Kirk Bachmann: That’s great. I absolutely love it.

Before I let you get out of here, again on behalf of Escoffier, I want to thank you for the work. I’m talking Escoffier the school and Auguste Escoffier and his great-grandson, Michel, because you’re carrying the torch of how important it is for us to connect with our food and understand our food, and how to apply proper techniques to our food. Thank you for that work. Always know that we’re an open door for any evangelistic or networking that we can be a part of.

But before I let you go today, the name of the podcast is The Ultimate Dish, so in your mind, Chef, what would be the ultimate dish? Or what has been the ultimate dish in your life?

Ann Cooper: Well, I think that it’s not that simple. For me, the ultimate dish isn’t some chef’s wet dream. It’s not the fanciest food. It’s not when I ate at Per Se, or when I ate at three-star restaurants all over Europe. It’s the most delicious, in-season food that you can have today. Grand Junction has a great growing climate. I have a huge garden here. We have numerous farmers’ markets. My perfect dish this week is lettuce from our garden, basil from our garden, a squash from our garden, and tomatoes from the farmers’ market, and local mozzarella cheese. And just making this beautiful mozzarella, tomato, fresh basil, fresh lettuce salad and some grilled squashes from the garden.

It would be very different if you asked me this in February. I’d probably be talking about braised lamb from a local farmer that I braised overnight. But today, it’s with beautiful olive oil and great vinegar. That’s it for today.

Kirk Bachmann: I am not surprised at all at that beautiful response. Thank you for that.

And Chef, thank you again. Our congratulations on an amazing career. The work continues. You’ve got a friend in Escoffier. Thanks so much for being on the show.

Ann Cooper: Oh, thank you for having me. It’s been really wonderful.

Kirk Bachmann: Absolutely.

And thank you for listening to the Ultimate Dish podcast, brought to you by Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. Visit escoffier.edu/podcast, where you’ll find any materials mentioned during the podcast, including notes, links and other resources. You can also browse other episodes and subscribe.

Recent Podcasts

Request More Information
Campus of Interest*
Program of Interest*

Clicking the "Send Request" button constitutes your express request, and your express written consent, to be contacted by and to receive automated or pre-recorded call, texts, messages and/or emails from via phone, text, and/or emails by Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts at the number(s)/email you provided, regarding furthering your education and enrolling. You understand that these calls, texts, messages and/or emails may be generated using an automated or pre-recorded technology. You are not required to agree to receive automated or pre-recorded calls, texts, messages or emails as a condition of enrolling at Escoffier. You can unsubscribe at any time or request removal of street address, phone number, email address via Escoffier website.

Culinary school planner & checklist interior page screenshots
Get the Essential Culinary School Planner & Checklist

We’ve compiled a checklist of all of the essential questions into one handy workbook: Career options, academic plans, financing your education, and more.

Get the Workbook
Campus of Interest*
Program of Interest*

Clicking the "Get the Workbook Now" button constitutes your express request, and your express written consent, to be contacted by and to receive automated or pre-recorded call, texts, messages and/or emails from via phone, text, and/or emails by Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts at the number(s)/email you provided, regarding furthering your education and enrolling. You understand that these calls, texts, messages and/or emails may be generated using an automated or pre-recorded technology. You are not required to agree to receive automated or pre-recorded calls, texts, messages or emails as a condition of enrolling at Escoffier. You can unsubscribe at any time or request removal of street address, phone number, email address via Escoffier website.

Our Next Orientation Starts Soon...
Don’t Miss Out!
For an immersive culinary school experience, apply now. Once enrolled, you’ll get an invitation to our next student orientation.
I need more information first
Close the banner Is Culinary School Right For You?
Take This Short Quiz
Is Culinary School Right For You? Take This Short Quiz