Nancy Weiss

After graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in English, Nancy went on to open SOhO Restaurant and Music Club in the mid 1980's in Santa Barbara. Owning and operating this local gem, Nancy not only built an award-winning restaurant but also a thriving live, local music venue in her community. In 2008, Nancy took over as Director of Food Services for the Santa Barbara School District (SBUSD). There she revolutionized food service for her students to an incredibly high standard. Weiss’ reinvention of campus dining challenges the entire “School Food” model and continues to make S.B. Unified an example for forward thinking school districts throughout the nation. She has consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty and has set an example for Food Service Directors nationally. Nancy is the recipient of the 2018 Santa Barbara Independent Local Hero Award, The Spirit of Service Award (from the City of Santa Barbara for commitment to composting and sustainability), The Golden Carrot Award (from the physicians committee for responsible medicine) and The 2017 Congressional Woman of the Year Award.


The Mission

In a district of 15,000 kids, Weiss retooled and retrained multiple kitchens to prepare all entrees, soups, sauces and dressings from scratch. Her whole grain sandwich rolls, pizza and pastries are baked fresh daily. Chef Weiss emphasizes wholesome ingredients and avoids additives, hormones, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and frozen entrees to give students the healthiest choices daily. She has also taken the lead in showing that the modern public school cafeteria can be environmentally friendly by eliminating all Styrofoam use. Nancy is dedicated to the health of her students, and strived to see that products are sourced from local Santa Barbara farms and businesses. Nancy also enlisted a fleet of seven food trucks to serve students at school sites without meal programs. To ensure that students can eat well during the summer months, Chef Weiss has also expanded her responsibilities to include serving Santa Barbara’s kids over the summer vacation. Weiss accomplished all of the above while reigning in costs, bringing her department in under budget and providing full-time positions with benefits to over a hundred employees. 

Features & Articles

Keeping SB Kids From Going Hungry in the Summer


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Santa Barbara Independent

SB Unified First in U.S. to Serve 50% Daily Vegan Options with Hungry Planet "Range Free" Meat


Santa Barbara Independent

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Nancy Weiss Given Santa Barbara Local Hero Award


SB Independent

November 22, 2017

Congressman Carbajal Names Nancy Weiss Congressional Woman of the Year


Santa Maria Times

Mar 27, 2017

SB Unified's Nancy Weiss Wins National Golden Carrot Award


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Santa Barbara Independent 

Santa Barbara's Cafeteria Queen


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Santa Barbara Independent


Superintendent Susan Salcido talks with Nancy Weiss about hunger, health & much more


Edible Santa Barbara: Making America Stronger One School Lunch at a Time


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