Review of "Take back the tray: Revolutionizing food in hospitals, schools, and other institutions"


  • Jennifer Sumner University of Toronto



institutional food, social gastronomy, hospitality, social justice, sustainability


This book fills a gap that is decades old—the problem with institutional food. Long the butt of jokes, complaints, and recriminations, institutional food has often represented the epitome of the worst that food can be: unhealthy, bland, colourless, placeless, and joyless—an afterthought that is underfunded and overcooked.

Enter Joshna Maharaj, a chef who is also a TEDx speaker and food activist. Her bona fides are impeccable—she has worked in institutional food settings in Toronto for over 10 years and has revolutionized the way food is served in those settings.

In this highly readable volume, she espouses what those of us in Food Studies know well: “Food is never just food” (58).


Author Biography

Jennifer Sumner, University of Toronto

Jennifer Sumner teaches in the Adult Education and Community Development Program of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include food studies, sustainable food systems, and the political economy of food, as well as globalization, sustainability, and organic agriculture. She is the author of the book Sustainability and the Civil Commons: Rural Communities in the Age of Globalization (University of Toronto Press 2005/2007), co-editor of Critical Perspectives in Food Studies (Oxford University Press 2012/2016), and editor of Learning, Food and Sustainability: Sites for Resistance and Change (Palgrave Macmillan 2016).




How to Cite

Sumner, J. (2021). Review of "Take back the tray: Revolutionizing food in hospitals, schools, and other institutions". Canadian Food Studies / La Revue Canadienne Des études Sur l’alimentation, 8(1).