Champion Chefs In The Community – We Need YOU!Thu 16 Jun 2011
Story by Hannah Ewan
Can you think of a person whose job it is to know and care about food? Who has spent time learning about ingredients from the ground up, developing recipes and working as part of a team to see them come to life - often under a lot of pressure? Wouldn’t such a person be the perfect candidate to take the Food Revolution forward?
Yes, we’re talking about you, chefs! If there’s anyone positioned to encourage people to eat good, varied and nutritious food, it’s the people at the heart of community food culture.
We’ve been hearing more and more stories from Food Revolutionaries who have kicked off or developed their campaigns by getting local chefs involved, and it works! In Durham, N.C., award-winning chef Andrea Reusing opened an elementary school’s new cooking classes program; Tucson Village Farm organized a Kid’s Chef Demo Dinner, and organic chef Jenni Cook has set up Food for Lunch, an LA organization determined to improve their kid’s school food.
As these examples show, there are all sorts of ways for chefs to get involved with improving children’s nutrition, and in educating families about the importance of good, local, seasonal food. Commitment can range from a single speaking or demonstration session, to ongoing coordination with a school or community group – in the form of a series of cooking lessons, for example.
With their experience, knowledge and enthusiasm, chefs can be the most inspiring individuals to teach responsible but delicious eating habits. A restaurant career gives weight to his or her advice and recommendations – older children, particularly, are more likely to pay attention when listening to someone who’s been practicing what they preach every day of their professional life.
Why not begin planning a fall school visit now? With the summer holidays to prepare, there’s lots of time to outline and schedule a demonstration or talk.
Community centers are another perfect place to get involved. Many already run healthy eating or food courses, and the organizers are often super-keen for local food professionals to get involved.
There’s nothing more satisfying than helping kids cook simple dishes for the first time, seeing them learn about different healthy ingredients and how to use them. Not only are these skills they’ll keep with them for the rest of their life, but they can make a big difference to their wellbeing.
You can even link up with local farmers, for the ultimate field-to-plate education. Reconnecting local children and families with the food they eat can be as simple as a few tables of local produce, followed by either a cooking lesson or a demonstration in how to use them to make a delicious dish. See how popular Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) Farmer Fairs have been!
Helping out with a Food Revolution group is a really effective way of creating a personal link between all the different points of the whole nutrition picture – the producers, the businesses and the skills. Find a local Food Revolution group and make yourself known! Or set up your own, just visit our Community page.
With your help, a food community can be built that makes a lasting difference to kids’ health. Will you step forward to be a Food Revolution Champion Chef?
About the author: Hannah is a freelance journalist from Edinburgh, who started making a mess in the kitchen when she was little and hasn't stopped since.
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