Kirby’s cafeteria serves an excellent, very healthy lunch during the school year. Because most Fridays have an early 12:20 dismissal, the food service typically only operates Monday through Thursday. On the few Fridays with a 3:30 dismissal, lunch will also be served.
Kirby offers three options for students to pay for lunch:
Hi, I’m Mima Lecocq and I’ve been the French teacher at Kirby for seven years. When Kirby moved to its present location at 425 Encinal Street in 2007, a kitchen space became available for the first time, and I put my years of culinary experience to use to found the lunch program.
I started as a child preparing dinner with my Swiss mother, making everything from scratch, even mayonnaise. My first job, at 11, was at the first and original Peet’s Coffee in Berkeley for Mr. Peet himself. I weighed and bagged spices in the back on Saturdays. When my mom opened the bakery La Farine in Oakland, I learned to prepare myriad “patisseries” and was henceforth responsible for putting dinner on the table for the family on top of going to College Prep. While earning BA’s in French and Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley, I worked for Alice Waters at Chez Panisse Restaurant, bussing tables, then waitressing, and finally cooking. Over a decade later I moved to the Santa Cruz area and opened Carried Away Take-Out and Catering in Aptos, which is now solely owned by my ex-husband, Tom McNary.
This academic year I am excited because rather than just supervising the lunch program, I’m finally getting back into the kitchen. I teach early and late in the school day, and act as Kirby’s Executive Chef in between. I’m excited to dig up recipes, make menus, chop, taste and serve yummy, fun, healthy food to my beloved Kirby community. It is a supreme privilege to be ultimately responsible for preparing lunch for my family here. I consider all the students “my kids,” not just my daughter, Olivia, who is in eighth grade. You can see her and our cafeteria in this video: Olivia: “It’s the Food”
Food is an integral part of living. It is important to eat well for our health, emotional wellness, and physical sustenance, and develop a culinary education, foster community, and create bridges to other cultures. Good food is fundamental to a good life. And feeding people (as with teaching) is deeply rewarding for me. I love to see someone try something new, get excited when they see a favorite food, make suggestions that excite them, ask questions. Teaching and cooking nurture simultaneously.
Want to work in the kitchen? Want to have guest chefs? Want to go green? Your ideas are welcome.
Executive Chef, French Teacher
Tracy Landry, Head Chef
Tracy has been cooking in Santa Cruz businesses for over 22 years. She has created menus and specials. She has worked with mental health and overweight issues, creating menus and meal plans to help balance mood, improve digestion, increase metabolism, boost immunity and rebuild internal organ health. She has worked with families and groups to better their overall health through nutritious eating habits. She has an extensive compilation of personal and professional research into food systems, nutrition, recipes, bio dynamics, sustainability, local/seasonal eating benefits, and how foods and flavors work together throughout the consumption process.
Tracy has spent a lot of personal time hunting and foraging for the most responsible local farms to source her ingredients from. She is dedicated to finding a way through food to keep connected with the region in which we live. Santa Cruz County is a food lover’s paradise. We can source all of our organic vegetables, fruits, meats, and dairy from within 50 miles of the Downtown Clock Tower. We live in a highly prolific area that produces food year round.
Tracy is one of those individuals who want to do what she loves. What she loves is food. She thinks about it, plans around it, reads about it, and talks about it. Food is her reason for being. She wants to eat her ideals and she loves to share.
Working at Kirby gives Tracy the opportunity to work with the next generation of consumers. Kirby kids will be going on to the greater world having had the opportunity through the lunch program to experience new flavors, ethnic cuisines, creative dishes, and exotic vegetables. They will gain a general idea of how tastes complement each other, how to assure complete proteins, satisfying fibers, complimentary starches, and plenty of greens and fresh salads. The greatest explorers are those who are willing to experiment and join the adventure. The students at Kirby have chosen to take the journey together.
Teaming with the students, Tracy creates menus and dishes that encourage evolving palates. With guessing games such as identify the herbs and the student can choose the menu for a day, she involves the kids in learning ingredients. Through theme weeks and special menu days, such as traditional Rosh Hashanah dishes and spooky Halloween buffet, the students are connected to their meals. Nutrition is always important and there is no better time than now for it to be essential knowledge. Tracy makes a point of suggesting healthier options and appropriate servings. She is genuinely excited by questions and always available for a conversation about food, nutrition, and menu suggestions!