About This Episode

How do we transform the way kids experience school? Former head chef Dan Giusti, the founder and CEO of Brigaid, and Angie Jerabek, the founder and executive director of the BARR Center, join hosts Debbie and Billy Shore to share their insights on driving culture change in our nation’s schools. “The personal interaction, whether it’s in a restaurant or in a school, is always going to be more important than the food itself,” insists Giusti. “You need to build relationships. You’ve got to have relationships from staff to student, student to student and staff to staff,” agrees Jerabek. Both guests emphasize that the talent already exists within schools. “We’re hesitant to have outside people come in. We really want to train the current staff because then we know it’s going to become part of the culture,” explains Jerabek. “One thing that’s always stood out to me is that we’ve had high school kids literally say to the cafeteria staff ‘I didn’t even like this meal today, but we see that you’re really putting a lot of work in. Thank you,’” says Giusti. Tune in for this in-depth conversation about two transformative organizations working to improve the school experience for our nation’s kids.  

Resources and Mentions:

Angela Jerabek

Angela Jerabek

The developer of the Building Assets, Reducing Risks (BARR) education model, executive director of BARR Center, a licensed K-12 teacher, and a secondary school counselor in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is an author, speaker and innovator in education. Jerabek developed the BARR model in 1998 and now also serves as the executive director of the BARR Center, providing thought leadership, evaluation services and oversight for the BARR model and the national BARR network. Jerabek’s expertise lies in secondary school improvement, equity, youth development, counseling adolescent and families and using evidence in schools.

Daniel Gusti

Daniel Giusti

The founder and CEO of Brigaid and formerly served as the head chef of Noma in Copenhagen, as well as the executive chef of 1789 in Washington, DC. Dan is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. Coming from a big Italian family, Dan grew up watching his Aunt Zia Rosa take care of his family and bring them happiness through her food. This is what inspired him to get into cooking. After three years as the head chef of Noma, Dan wanted to take his career in a new direction and try to bring that same childhood comfort to as many people as possible. Given that the National School Lunch Program feeds 31 million students each day, school food seemed like the best place to start.

No Kid Hungry logo

No Kid Hungry


Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day.

Building Assets, Reducing Risks (BARR)

A strengths-based model that provides schools with a comprehensive approach to meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of all students. Schools within the BARR Network harness the power of data and relationships to empower all students to thrive within and outside the classroom. The BARR model is rooted in the belief that growth is possible and within reach for every school, with the same students and the same teachers. It’s mission is to create equitable schools so that every student, regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status has access to a high-quality education where adults know them, recognize their strengths, and help them succeed. BARR’s proven track record of success has won support from the U.S. Department of Education to expand the network to 250 schools across the country by 2021.


Challenges the school food status quo by putting professional chefs into public schools to cook fresh, wholesome food from scratch. Since 2016, Brigaid has collaborated with partner K-12 school districts to transform the way their students eat. Its chefs empower food service teams through extensive in-person training that prepares them to serve wholesome, scratch-cooked food to their students and also execute existing offerings with greater consistency and quality. The National School Lunch Program is by far the largest food service provider in the country. Brigaid’s chef-led training program provides the strong organizational and culinary foundation needed to get these schools ready to cook from scratch again.