The National Restaurant Association praised First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Chefs Move to Schools” initiative aimed at encouraging chefs to “adopt” local schools in the campaign to eliminate childhood obesity.
“We commend the White House and First Lady Michelle Obama for engaging America’s chefs in this important effort, and we are pleased to have played a part,” said Dawn Sweeney, President & CEO of the Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “Chefs play a critical role in influencing our diets and eating habits. They inspire trends and cooking styles, bringing out the best in our food. Chefs are leaders in their communities, helping to fight childhood obesity in schools, and in their roles as creators of America’s restaurant and foodservice menus.
“Many members of the National Restaurant Association are encouraging their chefs and cooks to volunteer their time and expertise to get involved,” Sweeney said. “The Association is committed to encouraging and facilitating this involvement, and we look forward to helping others do so. We also want to take the opportunity to honor those chefs and cooks who have gone beyond volunteerism to make a career choice to work in schools full-time and are working to improve the health and well-being of our children each day.”
Chefs adopt schools
The Chefs Move to Schools initiative began months ago when the first lady enlisted Washington D.C.’s Iron Chefs in a program aimed at fighting childhood obesity. The group included White House assistant chef Sam Kass, JosÃ© AndrÃ©s of Jaleo, Todd Gray of Equinox, and Spike Mendelsohn of Good Stuff Eatery. Each chef decided to personally adopt a school.
Gray and Mendelsohn began teaching cooking classes to hundreds of students and parents. Today Mendelsohn will plant a rooftop garden at his adopted school, KIPP Academy, a charter school in the southeast part of the Capitol.
On Friday, nearly 1,000 chefs gathered at the White House to launch a nationwide version of the adopt-a-school program, with hopes of achieving the Mrs. Obama’s goal of ending childhood obesity within a generation.