School cafeteria staff may get a bad rap in the movies, but they’ll finally get the credit they deserve when the School Cafeteria Takeover comes to town.

The program was developed by the Jennie-O turkey brand and celebrity chef and TV personality Carla Hall.

“This partnership with the Jennie-O brand is very special to me and really hits close to home because we are recognizing some of the hardest working people in school districts – those who prepare school breakfasts, lunches and after-school meals for kids – and are an essential part of the school day. I know how incredibly hard they work and I’m excited to let them kick up their feet for once, as we cook for them and provide a time of rest and relaxation,” Hall said. 

“Our children need proper nutrition to focus, learn and play, and I’m so grateful that school cafeteria staff and Jennie-O products provide the protein and nourishment that kids need to succeed.”

Hall is best known for multiple stints on the Bravo reality show, “Top Chef,” and as a cohost on “The Chew,” a talk show focused on food from all angles. More recently, she served as a cohost for the “Worst Cooks in America” in 2021.

What are School Cafeteria Takeovers?

Hall, alongside the Jennie-O team, plan to visit four U.S. schools in the next year. 

Cafeteria staff at these schools, located in Knoxville, Tennessee, Los Angeles, California, Houston, Texas and Detroit Michigan, will receive biscuit baking lessons from Hall and a fabulous meal of Jennie-O turkey, according to the press release.

In addition, local businesses will offer “refreshments and other relaxing amenities.

“We are so thankful to work with Carla Hall to celebrate the unsung heroes of every school — the school cafeteria staff,” said Renee Cool, brand manager at Jennie-O Turkey Store. 

“They work tirelessly and take such amazing care of children, so, for one day, we want to pamper them and show our appreciation for all they do with a delicious Jennie-O turkey meal and relaxation.”

As part of the program, Jennie-O will also donate $25,000 to four additional U.S. schools in need of new equipment and supplies for their cafeteria.

Earlier this year, Jennie-O declared turkey the “Queen of Protein” in a new ad campaign that provided a glimpse into the culinary rituals and lawn parties of The Queendom of Poultry. Clearly, the School Cafeteria Takeovers are an extension of that, at least in my mind, by honoring cafeteria staff and other unsung heroes.

According to the WATTPoultry.com Top Companies database, Jennie-O, a subsidiary of Hormel, processed more than 1.2 billion pounds of live turkey in 2021. It presently ranks as the United States largest turkey producer.