The mission to change the food industry starts in the school cafeteria.
Each year, Chefs Move to Schools aims to challenge students to rethink the food they eat. Chef Steve has been involved in the past two annual events.
“I first got involved when the county asked me,” said Chef Steve. “We’re gaining momentum, and schools are starting to make some really good relationships with local farms to get good produce.”
But there’s still work to do.
“The biggest problem lies with the meats.”
Specifically fabricated and commodity meats.
“It’s a matter of follow-through,” said Chef Steve. “Doing it is great, but we can’t not see them again for a year. We need to talk through it, have more check-ins, dedicate the time and energy. There’s still so much work to do. But the program is a great start.”
The students were a joy to work with. They were incredibly interested in discussing food, nutrition - they even reacted with a unanimous, enthusiastic ‘yes’ when Chef Steve asked if they liked broccoli.
“It was really cool to see the kids get excited about vegetables. I was like, ‘What?’ Alright, then. Let’s make some broccoli meatballs.”
Chef Steve worked with six kids total - all fourth and fifth graders, and all very enthusiastic and interested in learning whatever they could. The excitement is there, and the program is a great start. But it needs more funding.
“As chefs, we’re starting to look to see how we can help them out. When we think about fundraisers, we’ll start to pay attention to that. Food programs are very scarce. It was a good way for people to pay attention to what’s really going on.”
The turnout was great, with more than 100 people in attendance. The chefs are working hard to mobilize community awareness and drive donations.
“My next steps? Community supported fishery programs. We need to cut through the red tape. We have a lot of fish that people can get to the schools, so we need to figure out how to make that happen. I’m working on that mission right now. That’s the conversation that’s going on, and that’s the conversation we need to be having.”
Chef Steve is dedicated to using his chef power and knowledge to reshape food programs in our schools.
“If we can get a chef to be committed to each school, we could make some really good changes. It’s just about getting people involved.”