Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Kass Gives Update On "Chefs Move to Schools"

Now entering its second year, the program has paired thousands of professional chefs with public schools...

By President Obama's proclamation, September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Thanks to the work of First Lady Obama with the Let's Move! campaign, as America's kids head back to school this month, thousands will be seeing healthier foods in their cafeterias. In addition to changes that are a result of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act 2010, the Chefs Move to Schools project is now well established. Launched by Mrs. Obama in June of 2010, the program matches volunteer professional chefs with their local public schools. It has hit a new benchmark, according to Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass (above).

"We have 2,700 chefs and 2,500 schools that have signed up already, and hopefully we'll continue to grow," Kass told Nation's Restaurant News. "They're trying to support the great work that's already going on."

NRN is a publication for culinary professionals, and in a video interview with reporter Ron Ruggless, Kass, the mastermind behind Chefs Move, discusses how professional chefs can help get children interested in eating healthier foods. He traveled the US this year speaking about Let's Move! and wooing culinary profs to join the program: Kass visited San Diego, California; and New Orleans, LA; and New York city--numerous times; and Dallas, Texas, among other places. (Above: A map showing chef and school matches across the US)

"Working with the food service professionals, starting with the Director of Food Service, is a great place to start," Kass said about how culinary pros can participate with Chefs Move. The program is coordinated by USDA; more information is here.

Kass also discusses school and community gardens, and how to empower both children and parents to make healthier choices.

"The First Lady has seen time and time again how simple engagement of kids in the process of what to eat...really opens their minds," Kass said.

Mrs. Obama first urged America's food service professionals to join her campaign with an address to the leaders of the National Restaurant Association in Fall of 2010.

*Photo and video by Ron Ruggless of Nation's Restaurant News, with thanks.

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