Chef Ann Foundation (CAF), a trail-blazing nonprofit dedicated to redefining school lunchrooms, today announced it is inviting chefs across the U.S. to help bring awareness to the need for school food reform through the Real School Food Challenge Restaurant Edition held this October. First launched in 2016, the Real School Food Challenge enlists the support of healthy food advocates to show that it’s possible to create great-tasting, nutrient-rich food that can easily be made in school kitchens by school staff.
In 2019, specifically, CAF is challenging restaurant chefs to create meals that follow USDA healthy meal guidelines and cost around $1.25, the average budget for a school lunch in the U.S. As part of this first-ever national Challenge, all of the participating chefs will serve their recipes on their menu, with a portion of sales getting donated back to CAF. Corporate sponsors will also match the proceeds from each restaurant to help maximize the impact of the Challenge.
Every day, 30 million children eat school lunch, and 70 percent of those students qualify for free or reduced (F/R) priced meals. With only $1.25 to spend per student meal, it becomes challenging for schools to serve real, healthy food that meet USDA guidelines. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019, CAF works daily to provide school communities with the tools, training, resources, and funding that enables them to create healthier food and redefine lunchroom environments. To date, the organization has reached more than 10,0000 schools and 3 million kids with their healthy school programming.
“Our team believes every child deserves access to healthy food every day so they can develop healthy eating habits to last a lifetime,” says chef Ann Founder, founder of CAF. “We host these culinary challenges to help educate and inform the public about the importance of serving our children scratch-made meals, and could not be more excited to see how our partner chefs use their culinary creativity to create meals for some of their most important guests ever—kids.”
So far, CAF has secured participation from chefs who share a vision for better food for children, including:
- Chef Daniel Asher, chef and partner of Colorado-based Ash’Kara and River & Woods
- Chef Hosea Rosenberg, chef and owner of Boulder-based Blackbelly and Santo
- Chef Alon Shaya, chef and owner of New Orleans-based Saba and Denver-based Safta
- Chef Charleen Badman, chef and partner of Scottsdale-based FnB
“I’m so excited to help figure out how to give all kids in the U.S. the nutritious lunches they deserve,” says chef Alon Shaya. “In addition to calling awareness to how we can improve school lunches, it’s also an exhilarating challenge for chefs to create delicious and nutritious meals on a low budget.”
The Real School Food Challenge Restaurant Edition will kick-off on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, when each chef’s recipe will be added to their menu as part of a fundraiser to support CAF’s ongoing efforts to make real change to the food our children eat at school. The winning recipe will be selected by Chef Ann based on creativity, presentation and scalability, and will be featured on Chef Ann Foundation’s national school food recipe database for kids around the country to enjoy.
The first Real School Food Challenge was hosted in Boulder in April 2016, and helped raise $7,500 for the CAF. Since that initial Challenge, CAF has partnered with communities and organizations across the U.S. to host six additional Challenges, raising nearly $70,000 total. CAF is continuing to enroll additional chef participants through the end of July 2019. To get involved in this year’s challenge, please contact Danielle Staunton at email@example.com.
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