Culinary Training Will Teach Foodservice Workers About Cooking Healthier, Plant-Based Meals in Correctional Facilities


Training Improvements Will Help Connect Justice-Involved New Yorkers With Better Meal Options


NEW YORK—New York City Department of Correction (DOC) Commissioner Lynelle Maginley-Liddie, Mayor’s Office of Food Policy (MOFP) Executive Director Kate Mackenzie, and New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Commissioner Jess Dannhauser announced today a $100,000 grant that will provide culinary training to foodservice workers on healthier, plant-based meals at Rikers Island and two juvenile justice centers.

The city will partner with the New York City-based nonprofit Hot Bread Kitchen this fall to develop a five-week course and additional train-the-trainer certificate process to develop the plant-centered culinary skills of kitchen staff at multiple facilities. The curriculum invests in the city’s culinary workforce and ensures that DOC and ACS meals adhere to New York City’s Food Standards, incorporating whole, plant-based proteins and other healthful options. New menus will be crafted with DOC and ACS clients’ input.

This training was made possible through funding from the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance’s (CNCA) Game Changer Fund. Building on the Adams administration’s proven successes in innovative plant-forward programming at New York City Department of Education and NYC Health + Hospitals kitchens across the five boroughs, this training will focus on reimagining food made and served by these agencies to support the health and well-being of detained individuals and promote a reduction in our food-related greenhouse gas emissions. 

“New York City continues to lead the nation in getting healthy food onto people’s tables — not only providing New Yorkers with better access to healthy foods but also changing the way our food system impacts the environment,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “We have transformed the way we feed young New Yorkers and our sick neighbors, and now, as we expand these food choices to Rikers Island, we are continuing to take action to get healthy food to all New Yorkers, not just a select few. Thanks to this partnership with the private sector, individuals in our care will now have access to healthy and tasty food to support them on their path to successfully reentering their communities — a win for the health of New Yorkers and our planet.”

"The Adams administration is deeply committed to expanding training opportunities for our city’s culinary workforce and ensuring that the meals served to New Yorkers in our care are delicious and healthy,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Ana J. Almanzar. “I am thrilled that this new and innovative training on Rikers Island will equip our dedicated food service workers with the skills needed to provide plant-powered meals that are good for New Yorkers, as well as good for our environment."

“In every place where New Yorkers are served food, it is our responsibility to ensure that their meals are delicious and adhere to the highest standards of nutrition,” said Mayor’s Office of Food Policy Executive Director Kate MacKenzie. “By ensuring that culinary workers in jails and juvenile justice centers have the support and resources to serve the most delicious meals for detained individuals, we’re making a huge step forward in enhancing how we’re serving our populations.”

“Healthy, whole foods are critical to everyone's health and wellbeing. We must not let incarceration be a barrier to accessing healthy food options,” said DOC Commissioner Lynelle Maginley-Liddie. “This initiative will enhance Department of Correction culinary workers’ ability to provide high quality meals. I'm grateful for Hot Bread Kitchen's partnership in this effort and thankful to the mayor for his ongoing commitment to expand healthy food options for all New Yorkers.”

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Hot Bread Kitchen to enhance our food service in the City’s juvenile detention centers,” said ACS Commissioner Jess Dannhauser. “Thank you to the CNCA for the funding for this initiative, and to the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy for being partners in this important work as we strive to serve delicious, culturally appropriate, and nutritious meals for young people in our care.”

“We are thankful to the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance’s Gamer Changer Fund for combining efforts with the Mayor’s Fund, Mayor’s Office of Food Policy, and Hot Bread Kitchen to ensure our city’s food service workers are equipped with crucial, nutritious culinary training skills. There could be no better community partnership than the expertise and cultural responsiveness offered by Hot Bread Kitchen,” said Najma Ali Chermin, Interim Executive Director, Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “This program will have the dual benefit of helping to achieve the City’s climate goals as well as contributing to improved health outcomes for New Yorkers.”

“Hot Bread Kitchen is dedicated to supporting food workers in New York City’s vibrant and accessible food industry, and we are proud to provide culinary upskilling training that will allow New York City employees to achieve economic mobility,” said Leslie Abbey, Chief Executive Officer, Hot Bread Kitchen. “Hot Bread Kitchen is honored to work with the mayor’s office to serve more food service workers within the Department of Correction through this plant-based training. This bold initiative benefits New Yorkers, our food system, and the planet.”

“On behalf of our members at Teamsters Local 237 who work in food services at Rikers and juvenile detentions centers, please know that we welcome the opportunity to learn new skills and receive training, equipment and other resources that will provide healthier food for the incarcerated,” said George Floyd, President, Teamsters 237. “Access to healthy meals should not be considered a privilege for the few, but rather, a right available to all New Yorkers—detained or not—as essential to building and maintaining healthy bodies and healthy minds. I congratulate the Mayor, Hot Bread Kitchens and the various City agencies involved for devising this initiative and overseeing its implementation.”

Combined DOC and ACS serve 6.6 million meals and snacks each year, spending roughly $22 million on food. New York City’s other food-serving agencies, notably DOE and NYC H+H, have had tremendous success in serving delicious, culturally appropriate, and plant-based meals. Plant-based meals in hospitals have been met with 95 percent patient satisfaction and are correlated with a 36 percent reduction in food-related greenhouse gas emissions. Through this partnership with Hot Bread Kitchen, culinary staff in correctional facilities will be able to produce innovative, delicious, plant-based meals to support their clients’ health and preferences, reflect their cultures and traditions, all the while reducing food-related greenhouse gas emissions.

The Adams administration has set out to ensure all New Yorkers have access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food, and that institutional food purchasing by city agencies is an enormous lever for change and a critical tool for equity, equipping food workers across the city with new tools to combat chronic disease and health disparities for those in our care is critical to our success.

"New York City's leadership will inspire others to take ambitious action capable of improving health outcomes while addressing systemic injustices and creating economic opportunities, all through delicious food policies that lower the carbon footprint of NYC's food system," said Simone Mangili, Director, CNCA. "New York City is demonstrating that cities working in partnership with organizations led by and serving priority communities results in climate action which meaningfully advances environmental, social, and economic justice goals. This is what CNCA's Game Changer Fund is all about and we'll be showcasing this work across our global city membership to ensure this leadership inspires others."

CNCA is a collaboration of leading global cities working to achieve carbon neutrality before 2050 – the most aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets undertaken anywhere, by any city. CNCA was founded on the knowledge that carbon neutrality requires transformative, systemic changes, like rapidly accelerating the pace of actual emissions reduction to address the urgent targets set by the scientific community, and to do so means enabling more cities to get involved. Transformational actions — “Game Changers”— can shift the fundamental attributes of the systems that have created these crises. In 2021, CNCA launched their Game Changer Fund to support the development, adoption and implementation of policies that will help build cities for the 22nd century – cities that will not only survive climate impacts but thrive far into the future.


About the NYC Mayor’s Office of Food Policy

The Mayor’s Office of Food Policy works to increase food security; promote access to and consumption of healthy foods; and support economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and equity in the food system. Learn more about how we’re creating a Food Forward NYC by transforming our food system into one that supports our health, the health of our planet, and business innovation at


The New York City Department of Correction (DOC) is dedicated to creating a safe and supportive environment while providing individuals in our care with a path to successfully re-enter their communities.