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Cooking Matters Michigan

Empowering families with the skills, confidence and knowledge to prepare healthy and affordable meals

Chefs Move To Schools: OFL Detroit volunteers talk about what's next in the fight against childhood obesity

jhartrick

Last night we held a panel of seven of eight chefs who went to Washington, D.C., earlier this month to help first lady Michelle Obama launch her Chefs Move To Schools campaign, her latest effort to fight childhood obesity. The chefs -- Aaron Bruck, Ina Cheatem, Barbara Hughes, Jim Kokenyesdi, Karen Lee, Stewart McWilliams and Pat Parko -- shared their experience of being among hundreds of chefs nationwide who descended on the nation's capital on June 4, the challenges they face and what's next in their mission to help schools serve healthier meals to students.

The chefs discussed at length some of the challenges they'll face in the schools' kitchens, ranging from funding (according to this Washington Post article, the federal government allocates $2.68 per child per lunch) to resistance (i.e. administrators or complicated relationships with vendors and catering companies). During a breakfast symposium hosted by Share Our Strength before the launch event on the South Lawn, the chefs learned that while this is a very huge task, it's important to take baby steps, i.e. start by planting a garden and getting the discussion going.

We know it's not going to happen overnight but with the dedication of these chefs, as well as others across the country, this is a huge step forward in fighting childhood obesity.

Chef Jim summed it up best when he talked about how he alone couldn't change 20 schools but by building a network of equally passionate chefs, as a team they can work together in helping students eat healthier.

Thanks, chefs, for all you do and we look forward to seeing your passion translate into healthier food for students.

Also, a big thank you to Stewart McWilliams who graciously hosted our group at his restaurant Mind, Body and Spirits. For pics of the awesome food and even more awesome chefs, check out our Facebook page.