K–12 Dining

Exciting menus paired with food education that students, parents, and faculty love

We make it easy for students to make healthy choices

We develop our K–12 programs around menus that are both delicious and nutritious. We cook our meals from scratch using raw or minimally processed ingredients, which gives us total control over the end product. Our Registered Dietician assists with menu planning and recipe analysis to ensure the ongoing integrity of our programming.

We believe that mealtime provides an important opportunity for continued learning. Our passionate on-site managers know students by name and work with them on sampling new ingredients and styles of cuisine. It is our goal to expand students’ palates beyond stereotypical “kid” food while ensuring they have plenty of approachable options to keep lunch familiar.

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Our K–12 Promise

Allergy Management

Allergy Management

Allergy-friendly options prepared, labeled, and served with care to keep students safe

Balanced Menus

Balanced Menus

Student favorites prepared healthfully and mixed with new ingredients and global inspiration

Continued Learning

Continued Learning

Nutrition education, food culture education, and curriculum tie-ins developed around the community

“The first thing our girls talk about once home from school is how yummy their lunch was. If they chose a salad or the food choice of the day. I am thrilled that they are eating well and they are making healthy choices that taste great!”

— Amanda Love
Parent, Lycée Francais de Chicago

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you plan your school menus?

We take pride in developing menus that contain a variety of nutritious, locally sourced products. Look at one of our weekly meal plans and you will find a rotation of proteins, starches, and seasonal vegetables. We strive to find the proper balance between approachable menus and those that gently introduce less-familiar ingredients or preparations. We pair new or "challenging" items with tested community favorites to make sure students fill up at each meal.

HandCut Foods is also dedicated to creating menus that are globally inspired. Throughout one week you may find Mexican-, American-, Chinese-, French-, and German-inspired lunches, embracing the backgrounds of the communities we serve as well as reflecting the diversity that is found in our city of Chicago.

How do you manage allergies?

We have in place a comprehensive allergy policy regarding the safe sourcing, production, labeling, distribution, and service of food. Our employees receive regular training to ensure adherence to approved methods.


We have strict production and procurement policies surrounding products containing peanuts and tree nuts. Peanuts and tree nuts are not used as ingredients in any recipe developed for production within our commissary kitchen. Additionally, we take care not to purchase ingredients that were processed in a facility that uses nuts.

Top 8 Allergens

For other Top 8 allergens—including egg, dairy, gluten/wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish—we follow best practices to avoid cross contamination during production. All Top 8 allergens are included on menus and labels.

How do you accommodate picky eaters?

We understand that not every menu appeals to every customer, which is why our programs feature multiple daily options. In addition to a featured meal of the day, our secondary offerings might include a soup du jour, a fresh salad bar, a specialty sandwich, a retail kiosk, or all of the above!

​Do you cater meetings or events?

Of course! HandCut Foods caters events ranging from morning coffee meetings to annual fundraising galas. If you are a current HandCut Foods client, log in to your community’s site to see a tailored catering menu and for ordering instructions. Alternatively, email your on-site director.

If you’re looking for catering outside of the contracted food service environment, check out the catering arm of our business: ChefField Events.

For all other questions, click “Learn More”.

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