forum: Everything else

#1 Sun 19 Aug 12 11:59pm

Chef Carl

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,

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#2 Thu 23 Aug 12 9:49am


Jamie Oliver 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.....

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:

Cheers from Danny

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