Soda, cookies, fries, and hot dogs. Sadly this is a fairly standard diet for an American child.
To help improve this, the American Culinary Federation (ACF) is teaming up with the makers of Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dressing to raise funds to support First Lady Michelle Obama’s "Chefs Move to Schools" program.
Later this month the partnership will host Lunch Break for Schools, a national fundraising event. Between February 27 and March 2, chefs will go into our nation’s schools—more than 50 chefs are confirmed at presstime—and create and serve delicious, healthy lunches, with all proceeds going to the ACF’s involvement with the Chefs Move to Schools program.
Chefs participating in Lunch Break for Schools will create and serve a lunch menu item inspired by the White House school lunch guidelines. That dish will include whole grains, fresh produce, and lowfat dairy products, and be low in salt and sugar.
Restaurant Management speaks with Paul O’Toole, CEC, AAC, executive chef at Deerfield Golf and Tennis Club in Newark, Delaware, who is one of the chefs devoting time and resources to this cause.
How have you been involved with Chefs Move to Schools?
In June 2010 I visited the White house with the American Culinary Federation and since then I have hosted monthly Chefs Move to Schools demonstrations at UrbanPromise, a school in Wilmington, Delaware.
During my visits, I talk about the origins of fruits, vegetables, meats and fish, the effects of food on the body’s performance, and host hands-on demonstration with students ages seven to 14.
Why these schools?
They are pre-K through eighth grade. The schools either don’t have enough food or the kids and their families eat poorly. Poverty or lack of funds plays a part in poor nutrition but it’s not the only reason. This issue of childhood obesity doesn’t have an economic line to it. Education is a big thing—what could I eat instead of this that would be better for me?
It’s really teaching the kids. Some of them don’t see the fruits and vegetables we see every day. So a lot is about exposure. I ask them which fruits and vegetables they’d like me to bring in. Then I bring them and cook them.