What an amazing day! Today, hundreds of chefs from over 37 states gathered on the South Lawn of the White House in support of the "Chefs Move to Schools" program, a part of the First Lady's Let's Move! Campaign to end the epidemic of childhood obesity. I had the pleasure of introducing Mrs. Obama who reinforced what this program is all about in her remarks:
That's why we created the “Chefs Move to Schools” program, to pair chefs like you with interested schools in your local communities. And together, you’ll be helping students learn where food comes from, and develop healthy habits. You’ll be elevating the role of food in our schools, and working to create healthy meals on a budget…
But each of you has so much to offer when it comes to helping our children make healthy choices. You know more about food than almost anyone -- other than the grandmas --and you’ve got the visibility and the enthusiasm to match that knowledge. That's really what’s key. Just watching you guys in action will -- it excites me, let alone my little girls who can’t stay out of the kitchen when Sam is cooking.
You can make a salad bar fun -- now, that’s something -- and delicious. You can teach kids to cook something that tastes good and is good for them; and share your passion for food in a way that’s truly contagious.
Our kids face a serious health challenges, and a major component of that is what they eat. The more the chef community focuses our hours of service on the issues we know best -- and the issues were we are best positioned to help -- the greater the chance that our efforts can have a lasting impact.
Small lessons like helping to teach a child how broccoli or cauliflower grows, or how to make a salad, or demonstrate a basic cooking skill that results in a delicious sweet potato can help put young people on the path of making healthy choices for years to come.
As of this morning, 990 Chefs and 488 Schools have signed up to be part of the Chef's Move to Schools initiative. See all of the participating chefs and schools across the country on this map. And it’s not too late for chefs and schools to sign up – today is just the beginning and so much can grow from this day.
Sam Kass is the White House Assistant Chef and the Food Initiative Coordinator