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From Farm to Occupy LA: High School Students Feed Protesters

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Santee High School may have its not so stellar graduation rate and its sometime partner Mayor Villaraigosa, but it does have one of the most amazing Culinary Arts programs in the country, Bistro Mundo. While we love them because they can rock a chile relleno stuffed with corn, beans and squash for the likes of Artisanal LA, but this week they have been rocking the same high school/high end cuisine for the venue known as Occupy LA.

With the help of Hollywood production cater Chef E from Mario's catering and organic grower Tutti Frutti Farms in Lompoc, the Santee kids were guided by teachers Brent Boultinghouse and Lisbeth Caiaffa to serve the occupiers a meal.

For the kids who come from a downtown school where nearly all students qualify for free and reduced school lunches this is an opportunity to both practice their craft as chefs and literally serve a social justice movement. For instructors Caiaffa and Boultinghouse it's a diversion from their usual ProStart competitions and Paella cook offs.

While Occupy Wall Street is serving 1,000-2,000 meals per day out of their borrowed kitchens in NYC, it remains to be seen if the California farm and restaurant community will rally to support Santee's culinary students as they attempt to serve more meals at City Hall's encampment. What isn't in doubt is the ability of a handful of inspired 16- and 17-year-olds to put tasty food on a plate, whether it's in a restaurant or an occupy field kitchen.

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Now it's up to LAUSD Superintendent and Occupy Wall St "supporter" John Deasy to have a shot at serving in their own cafeteria as well.