Chef Phelps has joined First Lady Michelle Obama's movement "Chefs Move to Schools," a program that calls on chefs to join the fight against childhood obesity. Each chef adopts a school and works with teachers, parents, school nutrition professionals and administrators to help children make healthy food choices and show them that it can be fun and delicious! Here are some pictures from Chef Phelps visit as well as a little bit about his view on this program.
How did you get involved & how can other chefs participate?
I was approached to get involved through the director of Food and Nutritional services for Sarasota County Schools, Beverly Girard and her team, as well as teachers and parents who were fans of ours.
Why do you think this organization is important?
This organization is an amazing movement. These schools only get a budget of just under $1 a day to put together healthy meals for the kids. Now it is up to us as chefs to be able to utilize the grants and funding that is available to them to teach better methods of cooking, better ingredients and more creative ideas.
What is your take on childhood obesity and what can/should be done about it?
Childhood obesity is the result of poor nutrition programs in school as well as poor nutrition education for parents. We need to teach the schools and the parents who feed these children. But, keep in mind that a lot of this stems from the affordability of healthy food which has to change very soon. Example: a McDonald's KIds Meal is $1.99, whereas an apple and yogurt is $4.00.
Are there any cute or funny stories from your experience?
Working with fifth graders was actually a blast, and it was interesting to hear what they thought good food was. We discussed what they would like to eat at lunch and we talked about what they don't want for lunch. The funniest thing was that I taught them how to bake chickpeas in the oven and make them crispy to put on top of our fried rice dish or as a snack. Then they learned that peas sounded like "please" and all day all night that was the joke, yes "peas", pretty "peas" and so on until my head was gonna explode.
You can read more about the "Chefs Move to Schools" program here.