It is 20 minutes before the lunch break at Claremont High School. The beautiful campus consists of several red-roofed single story buildings separated only by courtyards with trees and sitting areas for students.
Lunch service workers from the school’s cafeteria start to set up various eating stations, and each one has a large red tent or umbrella to cover the workers and shade the food.
Some stations serve a few well-known franchises like Subway, but the station with the longest line is the lone, red umbrella serving Dr. Grubbs.
“We always sell out of the Dr. Grubbs food first,” food service worker Mindy Golding said. “This food is delicious. It is delivered here daily, and it is the best health wise too.”
Dr. Grubbs is a small local restaurant located in downtown Claremont. It offers a selection of healthy and flavorful dishes centered on fresh produce.
Their goal of offering delicious and freshly prepared food to consumers was exactly why Rick Cota, director of nutrition services, asked Dr. Grubbs owner Gavin Alarcon if he would cater for Claremont High four years ago.
“I wanted our students to have something that wasn’t previously frozen,” Cota said. “We knew we would have enough kids interested. They make food with all natural ingredients and they’re local, so it’s a win-win.”
Now faculty and students can order Dr. Grubbs’ specialties like the freshly grilled and blackened chicken with either brown or white rice and apple-garlic aioli, or freshly grilled chicken in a Caesar wrap made with a whole-wheat tortilla, or blackened chicken with pasta in a light sauce.
This is not the typical meal for most high school students.
“When I do buy lunch at school, I always get the stuff from Dr. Grubbs,” Claremont High senior Monica Torres said. “I feel better about eating the food; everything else served doesn’t even compare.”
Cota makes nutritional health one of the top priorities in all public schools in Claremont. Even the elementary schools encourage young children to eat healthy.
Cota also believes these healthier options being offered has encouraged students to buy lunch. He also has another local restaurant, Boca Burger, grill all-natural hamburgers at the high school every Tuesday.
“Around four years ago, we were making around $300,000 from food services, and now we are almost up to $700,000,” Cota said. “That’s a huge difference, and students want to buy healthy and fresh food.”
Even teachers enjoy to the food services provided. Many teachers stand in line for their share of Dr. Grubbs.
“I chose this food because it’s good and it’s healthier,” said chemistry teacher Octavio Hernadez. “It’s better quality of food, and I know the students love it.”
The healthy dishes provided at Claremont High set a good example for other schools. The growth rate of obesity in young adults grows everyday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The goal is to provide my students with fresh food, so that one day they can encourage their own kids to eat this way.” Cota said.
Karleigh Neff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.