What is a Brigaid chef?

Chef

At its core, a Brigaid chef is not unlike any other type of chef — the primary goal is to feed people delicious meals. Specifically, the bulk of the meals you prepare will go to students who need nutritious food to fuel their work in the classroom.

You will also be expected to continue honing your craft. Brigaid is committed to developing complete chefs and will provide all of the tools and resources necessary for you to continuously improve as a chef and leader.

Much of that development will happen in the school kitchens as you oversee an operation preparing meals for hundreds of students daily while keeping the menu fresh yet USDA compliant. Beyond the school kitchen, you will also be able to stage at some of the finest restaurants in the world. In the past year, Brigaid chefs have staged at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, The Progress, State Bird Provisions and Single Thread, just to name a few.

Team Member

When you join Brigaid, you join a team of chefs each experiencing the same challenge of preparing delicious meals for several hundred students every day. You will bounce ideas off each other, share recipes, and collaborate on community meals. Every step along the way, you will have the support of these like-minded and passionate peers whenever you need it.

Leader

One truly unique aspect of the Brigaid chef role is the 1:1 relationship between chef and school. You are a full-time employee of your school overseeing a single kitchen. Much like the head chef of a restaurant, you will form relationships with the service providers that support the kitchen as well as with the students, staff, and teachers whom you feed. For many of our chefs, the relationships they build with the people who eat their food every single day are some of the most rewarding aspects of their job.

Impact

Maybe the restaurant you worked at had 5 to 10 regulars — you’ll now have 500 to 1,000 “regulars” in the form of students, all of whom won’t hesitate to tell you exactly what they thought of your food, for better or for worse. For each of these students, you will have the opportunity to feed them 5,000+ meals over the course of their K-12 education — that’s impact.

Brigaid chefs Angeline Chiang (left) and Tyler Guerin (right) cooking alongside René Redzepi of Noma (middle right) and Nicole Krasinski of State Bird Provisions and The Progress (middle left).

Brigaid chefs Angeline Chiang (left) and Tyler Guerin (right) cooking alongside René Redzepi of Noma (middle right) and Nicole Krasinski of State Bird Provisions and The Progress (middle left).

Brigaid Chef Wesley Barrington (right) cooking alongside Nicole Krasinski of State Bird Provisions and The Progress (left).

Brigaid Chef Wesley Barrington (right) cooking alongside Nicole Krasinski of State Bird Provisions and The Progress (left).

Brigaid Chef Angeline Chiang (left) next to Stuart Brioza of State Bird Provisions and The Progress (right).

Brigaid Chef Angeline Chiang (left) next to Stuart Brioza of State Bird Provisions and The Progress (right).


Join Us

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Brigaid Bridge Program

We realize that not every chef is in the position to join Brigaid today. However, there are many other ways to support Brigaid as a leading chef. One extremely impactful channel is our Bridge Program.

The Brigaid Bridge Program offers restaurants a new opportunity to enter their promising cooks into a multi-dimensional development program. The Bridge Program is a five-month program that brings cooks from the restaurant world into the school food world to push for critical chef development: personally and professionally.

Contribute to the revolutionary work of Brigaid and be an agent of change. The U.S. school food system is desperate for large-scale change. Brigaid is primed to deliver that change and positively affect millions of lives. Cooks who participate in the Bridge Program will be integral to this process.

To nominate a cook from your restaurant, email a short statement of intent and the cook’s resume to hello@chefsbrigaid.com.


In the program, cooks that restaurants identify as strong candidates for advancement will be challenged and trained how to:

Develop menus

  • Work within USDA nutrition guidelines and prices
    • The constraints set by these rules propel a cook to maximize their creativity, resourcefulness, and ingenuity.
    • By working with ingredient and commodity prices, cooks are pushed to develop a keen business mind and an ability to think beyond a single station in the kitchen.
    • Cooks will discern which ingredients are crucial to a meal’s success and which are unnecessary to a company/restaurant’s bottom line.

Manage a staff

  • Manage the kitchen staff alongside the chef
    • Many head chefs at top-tier restaurants often realize later in their careers that it is extremely difficult to keep the kitchen staff performing at the necessary standards while maintaining morale.
    • In a school kitchen, cooks are challenged to manage staff members, some of whom cooking is not their passion, and find the necessary motivational practices.

Interact with guests

  • Cooks interact with a wide range of individuals, from school principals to teachers and students
  • With high quality food becoming more accessible, it is an asset to have chefs who have the people skills to be outward facing and interact with guests.

Maintain a daily log

  • The program’s structure facilitates professional and personal growth by having cooks reflect daily on numerical metrics (costs, meals served, food preference) and qualitative metrics (best practices, management struggles, and menu development).

Financials and Logistics

  • Salary
    • Brigaid matches the cook’s salary during this stretch, and the program is offered at no additional cost to the restaurant.
  •  Housing
    • Brigaid helps chefs find housing, but housing costs will not be covered by the program.