Photo of the all-electric, full commercial kitchen at McAteer Culinary Center.
Photo of the all-electric, full commercial kitchen at McAteer Culinary Center.
Photo of the all-electric, full commercial kitchen at McAteer Culinary Center.
Photo of the servery and dining area at the McAteer Culinary Center.

SFUSD McAteer Culinary Center

San Francisco Unified School District’s McAteer Culinary Center is an all-electric, full commercial kitchen—the first of its kind for the district. The Culinary Center serves SFUSD’s Early Education sites, the two high schools on campus (The Academy and Ruth Asawa School of the Arts), and efficiently prepares fresh meals that can be distributed throughout the district.

SFUSD was in the process of developing a new standard for their commercial kitchen requirements during the project, providing the design team with the unique opportunity to implement the latest standards and provide real-time feedback. SFUSD’s sustainability department and the design team strongly advocated for the removal of all natural gas appliances and mechanical systems from the project. Adjacent to the kitchen is a servery and dining area with glazing that brings in daylight, creating a welcoming and comfortable environment for students and staff. Providing a nutritious food option on campus—that’s also free—helps break down barriers between students. Despite challenges posed by the existing infrastructure, the team successfully delivered the project promptly and with minimal financial implications, showcasing the power of collaboration. The McAteer Culinary Center became the model for a central kitchen for the district, and was used as a prototype for five additional district kitchens. It demonstrates how districts can provide good school food with the right equipment, ingredients, staff, and dining area.

A testament to its success, the McAteer Culinary Center was featured in CalBEM’s Case Study Book Series. This seven-volume series of case study books covers an expansive range of building types to support the adoption of sustainable building design practices in California. You can view the McAteer Culinary Center on page 115 of the Designing for Zero Carbon: Volume 1 flipbook here.

The fact that we can pour our time and attention and love into making sure that [students] feel like literally physically nourished during their school sets a good baseline for whatever else is going on in their life. Josh Davidson Chef, San Francisco Unified School District


San Francisco, CA
9,000 sq.ft.
San Francisco, CA
General Contractor
Build Group
M/P Engineer
Capital Engineering Consultants
Electrical Engineer
The Engineering Enterprise
Civil Engineer
Kitchen Consultant
The Marshall Associates
Multistudio asterisk