Coleen Donnelly

Corporate Chef, K-12

Chef-Coleen.jpgFrom Kindergarten through senior high, incorporating a variety of whole grains into school meal plans in appealing and economical ways can be a challenge. Yet from coast to coast, more schools seek to deliver the healthy goodness of whole grains at breakfast and lunch. That’s where K-12 culinary specialist and InHarvest corporate chef Coleen Donnelly thrives. 

Chef Coleen, who is based in Northern California, works with school-nutrition operators across the nation to show how to capitalize on the wealth of whole grains available and how they can help satisfy USDA nutrition guidelines via main dishes, sides, soups, salads, snacks, breakfast offerings and desserts. 

What’s more, she demonstrates working whole grains into menus utilizing cooking equipment typically found in school kitchens. And, she shares preparation tips to make dishes more appealing and flavorful for the various age and ethnic demographics within the K-12 system. Chef Coleen’s successful track record of translating new and challenging industry issues into solutions for all staff levels makes her an integral member of InHarvest’s Culinary Team.

A 1996 graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Chef Coleen has an extensive career in professional kitchens as an executive chef and restaurant owner, and in classrooms as a chef-instructor. From late-2000 to mid-2003, she oversaw the kitchen at the Ross School in East Hampton, N.Y., managing the serving of 1,300 daily meals focusing on locally and sustainably grown ingredients. For several years prior to her joining InHarvest, Chef Coleen dedicated herself to shifting focus on food in the nation’s schools to a healthy and sustainable model utilizing scratch cooking. 

“I’m excited to be part of InHarvest’s Culinary Team,” Chef Coleen says. “This opportunity enables me to combine my passion for food with my commitment to supporting industry and district efforts to improving school meals. InHarvest’s dedication to providing culinary solutions is a winning formula for delivering healthy and delicious meal choices to our kids.”

Chef Coleen is a great fit for the K-12 segment because she embodies the spirit of InHarvest’s educational goals by demonstrating creativity, problem-solving and an awareness of the possibilities that exist to make seamless improvements to the quality of meals served in school districts of all sizes. She embraces the challenge wholeheartedly, making meaningful whole-grain solutions for school-foodservice staff a top priority. 

Chef Coleen is a member of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, among other chefs’ organizations.