Since our founding days, food has played an important role in the Manhattan Country School program and been one of many shared pleasures of the MCS community. Replicating important aspects of our food curriculum at MCS and at the Farm and integrating even more locally sourced farm ingredients to the lunch program are high on the list of priorities for the future. We also must design a kitchen for our future home on West 85th Street, staff it and figure out how to distribute lunches to a bigger student body. This is just one of many aspects of the planning for 2016 that is well underway.
Amanda Hallowell, head cook at Nebo Lodge and an MCS parent (Hella ’22), is a new partner for MCS in this effort in a part-time position as food program coordinator. Amanda is well prepared to research larger school lunch programs that are cooked in-house, develop partnerships with local farm suppliers and work with our architects to design the West 85th Street kitchen. She is also documenting curriculum that has food content in New York City classrooms and at the Farm. In addition, she will experiment with some new snack and lunch recipes and will cater MCS meetings and events. Ana and Celia, Mary and Maiya, among many others are finding Amanda a creative collaborator.
In 2007, Amanda started the farm-to-table restaurant at Nebo Lodge, a nine-room inn located on the small island of North Haven, Maine where she grew up and where her family still lives today. From the beginning she created the restaurant’s menu based not only on what was seasonally available in Maine, but what was raised on the island itself. She learned to cook and eat this way on a small island farm, where her parents grew vegetables and raised pigs, sheep, chickens, ducks and the occasional turkey. She currently sources about 85 percent of the restaurant’s food from the island itself, and believes fundamentally in the importance of eating locally raised foods, both for health and environmental reasons.
Amanda is excited to join the MCS community in this role because of her passion for making healthy, fresh food available to all and encouraging a slow, whole foods approach to cooking and eating. She loves the current MCS lunches for their wholesome, homemade, family-style approach, and is eager to work with our cooks to incorporate more local and sustainable foods into the menu.