Chefs Move to Transform School Meals in Orange County, Florida

Chefs Move to Transform School Meals in Orange County, Florida

Food & Drink

Chefs Move to Transform School Meals in Orange County, Florida

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Eleven American Culinary Federation(ACF) members have joined members of the International Corporate Chefs Association, Research Chefs Association and Women Chefs & Restaurateurs to participate in a pilot launch of the Chefs Move to Schools program in 15 Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) in Florida. The program will be implemented in all OCPS in January 2011.

The pilot program is the next step in Michelle Obama’s initiative to promote healthier lifestyles and to stop childhood obesity. Mrs. Obama first called on chefs to partner with the nation’s schools on June 4 at the Chefs Move to Schools kickoff held at the White House. OCPS is the nation’s 10th largest school district, with more than 175,000 students, and serves more than 26 million meals and 1 million after-school snacks a year.

“As chefs, we have been given the unique opportunity by our nation’s leaders to share our food knowledge and nutrition expertise with school officials and to play our part in the fight to end childhood obesity in America,” said Michael Ty, CEC, AAC, ACF national president. “The American Culinary Federation is proud to have 11 of our members join other leading chef organizations in the pilot launch of this program. The healthful recipes and training developed will spread throughout Orange County and across the nation, bringing needed change to our schools’ foodservice programs.”

Chefs were first paired with the 15 Orange County schools in September. In October, chefs observed schools’ foodservice operations to gather possible suggestions for improving operations and menus. Chefs will make at least two brainstorming visits to their schools and consult with the school’s foodservice managers. Together they will develop materials that will aid in the new nutritional education programs and healthful menu offerings that will be implemented in all OCPS in January 2011.

The Chefs Move to Schools program, which is run through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and led by Sam Kass, White House assistant chef, is the latest in Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign initiative. The program aims to pair chefs with schools in their communities. The chefs will work with teachers, parents, school nutrition professionals and administrators to help educate kids about food and nutrition. For more information, you can visit the official website.

What I’d like to try are chef-crafted gourmet tater tots.

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