The cafeteria kitchens at Marshall Public Schools are a busy place to start with, but there was extra work going on this week. Food service staff were helping prepare ingredients like 20 pans’ worth of Japanese baked rice and hundreds of pounds of chicken for special school lunches Thursday and today.
All the work was for a purpose, said Chef John Sugimura.
“It’s about giving kids good food,” even in a year that’s been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sugimura said.
Sugimura visited MPS this week to serve students lunch at Marshall Middle School and Marshall High School. On Thursday, more than 450 middle school students and staff tried Sugimura’s karaage don, a Japanese rice bowl with fried chicken. Mike Carlson, food service director at MPS, said they were anticipating serving around 500 more students and staff at MHS today.
Sugimura has a couple of connections to Marshall. He’s a corporate chef with Taher, the food service provider for Marshall Public Schools. He’s also the executive chef and co-owner of PinKU Japanese Street Food in Minneapolis, where he works with business partner and Marshall High School graduate Xiaoteng Huang.