Editor's Note: The following was submitted on behalf of Sapphire at School.
Founder Azmin Ghahreman, chef and owner of Sapphire Laguna Restaurant and Pantry, creates each dish with health in mind using locally-sourced wholesome foods for nutritious alternatives to the processed lunches traditionally served in cafeterias. Meals and snacks are ideally proportioned and prepared each morning in the Sapphire at School Kitchen, a 5,000 square foot state-of-the-art cooking facility in Costa Mesa, and delivered fresh to the school cafeteria daily.
Founded in 2007, the program currently partners with seven schools in Orange County and serves more than 4,200 students daily.
“We are thrilled to provide St. Mary’s with a comprehensive school lunch plan that will expand their students’ taste buds and palate, while demonstrating the importance of nutrition,” said Ghahreman. “I created Sapphire at
School to take a positive action on guiding children in their food choices to help establish good eating habits early on, before bad ones are formed.”
Ghahreman combines his culinary talents with Sapphire at School’s mission to nourish and educate young people for a lifetime of well-being. Modeled after the Mediterranean Food Pyramid, the daily-changing menu incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, sustainable and hormone-free meats and dairy products, and plant-based oils to promote good cholesterol and help prevent heart disease.
Meals can be customized to accommodate children with allergies and special dietary needs; offering vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and low-sugar meals. To ensure the highest standards, Sapphire at School is overseen by a nutritional board comprised of doctors, dietitians, nutritionists, parents, chefs and educators.
“We are excited to partner with Sapphire at School and offer nutritious, high-quality meals on campus,” said John O'Brien, headmaster of St. Mary’s School. “Chef Azmin has built an outstanding program;one that aligns with our mission to provide the best experience and guidance for our students, including a focus on the importance of a healthy and nutritious diet.”
Most menu items including sauces, soups and dressings are made from scratch and contain no preservatives or additives. The program also includes classroom instruction and time in the kitchen, where students throw on an apron and work with wholesome ingredients to learn how to feed themselves healthfully, deliciously, and easily for a lifetime.
About Sapphire at School
Chef Azmin Ghahreman sees each child as his own responsibility, and coined the phrase “Every Child Is My Child” – making it his mission to develop and nurture programs that take a positive action on behalf of children in the field in which he excels: providing delicious, innovative and healthy meals that broaden the mind and the palate. Sapphire at School was launched in 2007, and aims to provide a fresh and healthy alternative to the standardn institutional and fast-food fare that have resulted in a generation of overweight children. The program is based primarily on the Mediterranean Food Pyramid, using heart healthy foods which produce meals that are not only nutritious, but taste good as well. Contributing to the ongoing development and advancement of the program is the Sapphire at School Nutritional Board comprised of the area’s leading pediatric medical, nutritional and dental experts and professional chefs. For more information regarding Sapphire at School, please contact us by calling 949-715-9260 or visit www.sapphireatschool.com.
About St. Mary’s School
St. Mary’s is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School dedicated to inquiry-based academic excellence, developing well-rounded, confident children who flourish in an environment founded on Christian values. St. Mary’s serves 755 students from preschool through the eighth grade, and is located at 7 Pursuit, Aliso Viejo, Calif.