Community chefs cooking at schools

Community chefs cooking at schools

We have many chefs who have answered the call to join the Chefs Move to Schools program. Since originally launched and discussed in June, the White House’s Chefs Move To Schools program has been a major topic of many conversations and emails from the Marriott culinary community. Great stories of the challenges and experiences at local schools, students who have been so excited to meet a real chef and parents thrilled that someone has an interest in making a positive impact on our kids’ nutrition have been just a few of the themes we continue to hear.  

A great example is Diego Fernandez, executive chef at the Overland Park Marriott. Chef Fernandez is making a difference and leading a significant change in his immediate community. He researched local schools close to the hotel area and eventually contacted the Blue Valley School District in Kansas, which serves 35 locations and approximately 21,000 students. In August, Chef Fernandez met with the director of food services, the dietician and the food and nutrition services coordinator. Since that meeting, Chef Fernandez has cooked at the school, making recipes including whole-wheat pizza dough that got rave student reviews about texture and taste, hummus and the biggest surprise hit, wild rice and sweet potato salad. Who says kids just want to eat chicken fingers? 

Carrying this initiative forward by way of a contest, the program has put forth a challenge to create interesting recipes that could one day find their way into our school cafeterias. There is no better way to stir the creative mind of a chef than to throw down a challenge, especially for such a worthy goal. Strategically, we also need to inspire the hearts and minds of our next generation of customers, associates and business customers. Inspiring them through the message of healthy food is a great place to start. 

Here is an excerpt from the official Chefs Move to Schools website:
The deadline is only 3 weeks away …

Let’s Move! toward healthier food in schools with the Recipes for Healthy Kids competition! First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative, in association with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is challenging school nutrition professionals, chefs, students, parents and interested community members to create tasty, healthy, exciting new recipes for inclusion on school lunch menus across the country. Winning teams will win $12,000 in prizes and be invited to prepare their nutrition-packed recipes alongside White House chefs.  

Recipes for Healthy Kids Competition teams should start planning their recipes now! Schools and Chefs can connect by signing up at Chefs Move to Schools  or through their local community. Encourage your school community to get involved NOW!
The clock is ticking!  Deadline is December 30, 2010!
  1. Get signed up at  
  2. Get the Team Together, and
  3. Get Cooking!! 
Until now, the hotel industry has not been well represented in the initiative to improve our children’s school cafeterias. As an industry, we can make a real difference! Encourage your chef and your hotel to get involved. Sign up, cook, inspire.