Sunday, July 24, 2011

Today: Sam Kass In Dallas For National Cookoff: First Lady's 'Recipes For Healthy Kids Challenge'

"Iron Chef" battle for winning school lunch recipes held at American Culinary Federation National Convention...
UPDATE, July 26: The Porcupine Sliders get Grand Prize
First Lady Michelle Obama's Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives, Sam Kass, is in Dallas, Texas, today, at the American Culinary Federation National Convention (ACF). Kass will be delivering remarks to the thousands of chefs attending the event, as well as judging the entries from three teams competing at the Gaylord Texan Convention Center for the $3,000 grand prize in the cook-off for Mrs. Obama's Recipes For Healthy Kids Challenge, a nationwide competition launched last September. USDA sponsored the contest, and received more than 300 kid-friendly recipes from across the US, from school teams of students and adults who had to use USDA's new nutrition guidelines for the National School Lunch Program when creating their dishes.

Kass will witness flying vegetables as the teams prepare their recipes in just under two hours for a panel of distinguished judges who will select the winner, which will be announced this evening at a special awards ceremony. The three teams are from Joshua Cowell School in Manteca, CA, competing with Central Valley Harvest Bake, a sweet and spicy dish made with Butternut squash and jalapeno peppers; Intermediate District 287, South Education Center Alternative, Richfield, Minn, competing with Porcupine Sliders, which are healthy turkey burgers; and Ira B. Jones Elementary School, Asheville, N.C., competing with Tuscan Smoked Turkey & Bean Soup. Each had to win a semi-final round to get to Dallas.

Dr. Janey Thornton, USDA's Deputy Undersecretary, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, will also be on hand today to cheer on the teams. The ACF has been a big supporter of the Chefs Move to Schools project, a Let's Move! initiative that matches professional chefs with public schools. Member chefs traveled around the US with USDA officials and representatives from the School Nutrition Association to select the finalists, who competed in three recipe categories: Whole grains; dark green and orange vegetables; or dry beans and peas.

The three teams, as well as the top ten recipes in the Challenge, will have their entries published in the forthcoming Recipes for Healthy Kids Cookbook. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the finalists in June.

*Photo by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama

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