Montgomery Media covered the Vetri Foundation’s first Eatiquette lunch at Eisenhower Science and Technology Leadership Academy, part of the Norristown Area School District:

“The light sound of a piano composition by Beethoven played as the smells of chicken curry stew wafted from the kitchen at Eisenhower Science and Technology Leadership Academy in Norristown.Like one big family, students filed into the cafeteria and placed themselves around the tables of eight that were set in advance by the student ‘table captains.’ Once the student and staff servers brought the small feasts to the tables, students unfolded their napkins, placed them on their laps with perfect manners, and shared a gourmet meal.This family-style eating environment will be found in Eisenhower every week through a new partnership between the Norristown Area School District and the Vetri Foundation for Children.

Eisenhower Middle School students participate in the Eatiquette program sponsored by the Vetri Foundation in Noristown March 6. 21st Century Media photo / GENE WALSH

“The first run of the Vetri Foundation’s Eatiquette program took place March 6. The foundation was established by chef Marc Vetri and restaurateur Jeff Benjamin in 2008 to rid schools of the current ‘assembly line’ food programs and bring nutritional meals in a package that teaches students the value of nutritional eating and fosters a healthy sense of community.Vetri, an award-winning chef famous for establishing successful restaurants in downtown Philadelphia, is also the brother of Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman. When Ferman, a board member of the Vetri Foundation, heard that the foundation wanted to bring its program to Montgomery County, she immediately thought of Norristown.

“’I knew Dr. Samuels would be interested in such an innovative program,’ Ferman said, referring to Norristown Area School District Superintendent Janet Samuels. ‘It was such a perfect community. It had to start in Norristown. It’s really special being here in my hometown.’

Ferman was right: Samuels was thrilled to bring the program to Norristown.

“‘It’s so wonderful seeing all the students sitting down together and sharing a meal,’ Samuels said. ‘It’s a great community experience.’

“Christina Taylor, principal at Eisenhower, agreed with Samuels.

“’It’s a wonderful opportunity to help prepare students for life,’ Taylor said.”

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