Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chatham School's Chef's Challenge 2011

I was going to wait to attend one of the events before sharing an article with you about it, but, honestly, there is so much going on and it is too cool to wait for me to get my slow-as-molasses-these-days-mommy-rear-in-gear to get there. Thus I am going to share with you what I know about a really great challenge going on in Chatham County Schools right now.

First, we love this because we're big on awareness of childhood obesity issues. Michelle Obama is heading up the GetActive campaign, and we did an article on that (see here). But also important is the food and diet portion. And Chatham County is putting money where the mouth is, so to speak, and tackling what kids eat in school.Briar Chapel and The Abundance Foundation have paired with the Chatham County School district to create the "Chef's Challenge." (So FoodTV network, I know!)

There are many events surrounding this challenge. But the gist is as follows: some pretty top-notch chefs in the area (Chef Colin Bedford from the Fearrington House Restaurant, Chef Jimmy Reale of the Carolina Inn and Chef Gregg Hamm and Kelly Taylor of The Natural Chef Culinary Program at Central Carolina Community College) are competing to see if they can entice the pallet of kids. But they are competing against some tough contenders: nachos, chicken nuggets, pizza, and the like. These chefs are trying to create healthy lunches that kids like just as much as these standard foods that are currently served in most cafeterias. The chefs have to use school ingredients, lunch ladies, and follow USDA guidelines.

And they are leaving it up to the kids to decide. The kids get to taste test and provide their votes.

Right now, select kids (ones with an interest in nutrition and culinary school) have been going to each place and interviewing the chefs. They are getting a behind-the-scenes look of what happens in a major kitchen.

Moving forward, there will be a tasting of the dishes by kids, the toughest critics of all, April 11-13. Yet the tastings occur against the standard cafeteria fare, too. Then all the chefs will be showcasing their items at the Briar Chapel Earth Day Celebration on April 16th.

Visit The Abundance Foundation's website on the Chef's Challenge here: http://theabundancefoundation.org/events/chatham-county-chef-challenge
Visit Briar Chapel's website here: http://www.briarchapelnc.com/

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