2 min read

Episode #13 - Let’s talk school food with Emily Chatelain, CEO and Founder of School Food and Wellness Group

Episode #13 - Let’s talk school food with Emily Chatelain, CEO and Founder of School Food and Wellness Group





Episode Guest: Emily Chatelain, CEO and Founder of School Food and Wellness Group

Connect with Emily on LinkedIn 

School / Organization: School Food and Wellness Group

Website: https://www.sfwgroup.org/



In this conversation, Emily discusses the importance of school food programs and the challenges that school leaders face in providing healthy meals to students. She explains the different models for running a school food program, including self-prep, food service management companies, and vended meal contracts. Emily highlights the importance of planning, staffing, and budgeting for a successful program. She also provides resources for school leaders to learn more about school food programs and receive assistance.



  • School food programs are crucial for ensuring that all students have access to healthy meals.
  • Planning, staffing, and budgeting are key factors in running a successful school food program.
  • Different models, such as self-prep, food service management companies, and vended meal contracts, offer various options for schools.
  • Switching models may be necessary as schools grow and their needs change.
    Common challenges in school food programs include staffing, compliance, and budget management.
  • Resources such as the School Food and Wellness Group, Institute of Child Nutrition, and Chef Ann Foundation can provide support and guidance for school food programs.



School Food and Wellness Group: https://www.sfwgroup.org/

Institute of Child Nutrition: https://theicn.org/

Chef Ann Foundation: https://www.chefannfoundation.org/



00:00 Passion for School Food

03:05 Challenges of School Food Programs

06:15 Starting a School Food Program

09:46 Budgeting for School Food Programs

11:24 Different Models for School Food Programs

14:23 Pros and Cons of Different Models

18:04 Switching Models

21:09 Common Challenges in School Food Programs

24:29 Solutions for Running a Smooth School Food Program

27:26 Resources for School Food Programs



Emily brings years of experience providing program management & compliance, operations support, fiscal policy, and human resources administration to public schools, leaders and districts across the United States. Additionally, Emily leads the Three O’clock Project, a Louisiana based non-profit organization, whose mission is to provide children with access to healthy meals after school and throughout the summer months.

A 2009 undergraduate of the College of Agriculture at Louisiana State University, and a 2011 graduate of the MBA program at University of New Orleans, Emily began her career in 2012, as an operations consultant for a local charter school in downtown Baton Rouge. After this school and several others inquired about improving their school’s meal service via the National School Lunch Program, Emily saw an opportunity and took an entrepreneur’s leap of faith. School Food & Wellness Group was formed in 2015, and has steadily grown on a national scale, with over 150 clients in 30 states.


You can listen to Charter School Insider: Lessons from the Nation's Top Charter School Operators on your favorite podcasting platform...

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