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#1 Sun 19 Aug 12 11:59pm

Chef Carl

Member
Member since Sun 19 Aug 12

Child Nutrition Program

Hello Jamie.  I am a chef here in Alabama who has recently taken a break from the restaurant business.  Currently I am in an institutional setting…Food Services Director for The Bridge, Inc., a non-profit residential facility that provides substance abuse treatment and behavioral rehabilitation programs for adolescents.  We feed about 40 kids, and some adults, three meals a day, every day of the year. To know well ahead of time exactly how many people I will be feeding and precisely what they will be eating is an incredible luxury that I could not have imagined….the guesswork of prep and all the pressure is absent.As much as I enjoy this aspect of my situation, equally alarming is the fact that all the food I prepare and serve is bound by the guidelines of the Child Nutrition Program and The National School Lunch Program.  I have followed your career and I am sure you know my frustration.  These rules intended to fight obesity and increase nutrition have pushed our nation’s school cooks into a corner, practically forcing them to serve processed garbage to meet the guidelines…. square chicken patties, canned fruits and vegetables, pre-made frozen everything.  I am fortunate enough to have the ability to create my own fresh recipes to meet the guidelines, but even that is made next to impossible due to all the red tape.  I have installed a salad bar, I’m working to create an herb garden, I’m baking homemade whole wheat breads and biscuits, I’m getting citrus trees, and I am replacing the canned goods with fresh or frozen.  I can easily do this but how is the average school cafeteria director ever going to be able to serve proper meals?  We are in a difficult situation.  Like you I seek to inspire, to get kids excited about foods, and to show them the process of farm to table.
My reason for this short letter is just to encourage you.  I want to applaud you for using your celebrity to do such wonderful things.  I know you must get discouraged but I urge you to continue.

Thanks for all you do,
Carl

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#2 Thu 23 Aug 12 9:49am

Danny

Jamie's Better Food Foundation
From Jamie's Office
Member since Tue 06 Jul 04

Re: Child Nutrition Program

Great post Carl, well done for working so hard to ensure that your kids eat well. Good Food - growing, cooking, eating and sharing it is such an important part of any sort of recovery (physical and spiritual). I have been working at San Patrignano for the past 4 years. An incredible community near Rimini in Italy that takes in addicts from 28 countries around the world. Food is at the heart of everything that the young people do at Sanpa.....

http://www.sanpatrignano.org/en

I wish you all the very best with your endeavours, it would be great to hear how you get on. Oh, almost forgot - have you heard of the Screaming Avacado project that runs out of a Secondary School in Ontario Canada? Another inspirational project - they may have some learnings to share with you:

http://screamingavocado.webs.com/


Cheers from Danny

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