Sage Hill gets new chefs

NEWPORT COAST — Laguna Beach restaurateur Azmin Ghahreman's Sapphire at School has been selected to provide meals for Sage Hill School in Newport Coast, beginning in August for the next school year.

Sage Hill joins four other Orange County private schools that offer Mediterranean-style cuisine that emphasizes healthy eating.

Ghahreman, owner of Sapphire Laguna restaurant, developed Sapphire at School in 2007 to provide students with a variety of healthy, restaurant-quality, globally influenced cuisine prepared daily by professional chefs.

"Teaching children about food and nutrition has been a passion of mine for many years," Ghahreman said. "I believe that kids should be given the skills and education they need to make smart, informed decisions about the foods they eat. Every child deserves a healthy start."

Sage Hill School picked Sapphire at School after a search by the school's Food Service Advisory Committee, which is chaired by Chief Operating Officer Diane Shank and Student Body President Ben Capalidi.

The committee of 18 students, four faculty representatives, three parents and a trustee selected Sapphire at School from five vendors that submitted proposals.

"Our students played a big part in this decision-making process and selected Sapphire at School because it offers a menu with a diverse selection of tasty and healthy food," Shank said. "The program will help the students develop healthy eating habits that will stay with them throughout their lives."

The menus and educational curriculum are based on the Mediterranean food pyramid, relying on whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, herbs and spices, accompanied by servings of fish and seafood, poultry and eggs, organic dairy products, lean meats and, in spare amounts, sweets. Each meal and snack is prepared daily by expert chefs, using fresh, local ingredients.

In addition to Sage Hill School, other participating schools in Orange County are Harbor Day School in Corona del Mar; St. Anne School in Laguna Niguel; and St. Margaret's Episcopal School and Capistrano Valley schools in San Juan Capistrano.

In many of the schools, the program also offers hands-on educational classes that expand students' knowledge of food and nutrition, and increases their awareness of flavors from around the world.

For more information regarding Sapphire at School, call Catherine Nguyen at Sapphire Laguna, (949) 715-3355.

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