As executive chef for the public school system, Jorge Collazo is on the front lines of New York City’s school food revolution inspired by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Child First initiative. Jorge is involved in training, developing culinary concepts, writing standards, reformulating recipes, and collaborating with manufacturers to offer superior nutritional choices to young students. Since he started in May 2004, he’s hired seven chefs, six of whom are CIA graduates, to help oversee the 860,000 meals served per day at 1,500 locations throughout the city.
Jorge came to the job well-prepared for that kind of responsibility. As a child he left Cuba to accompany his family to the United States. He enrolled at the CIA at age 29 and entered the corporate dining world upon graduation. After a number of years working in New York City, he joined the faculty of the New England Culinary Institute, where he started tuning in to the issues at the forefront of the food industry— health, allergies, and childhood obesity. He is regarded as one of the leaders in the movement to provide healthier menus for school children.