Orange County Public Schools Partners with Nationally Renowned Chefs to Cook up Changes in School Cafeterias Nationwide
15 Orange County Public Schools to Create, Test and Pilot Model Program
ORLANDO, FL — Orange County Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services (OCPS FNS) has launched a Chef Initiative, a unique partnership with national culinary leaders to cook up some healthy changes in schools across Orange County and nationwide.
Inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, Orange County Public Schools has joined forces with the School Nutrition Association, the International Corporate Chefs Association (ICCA), the American Culinary Federation (ACF), Women Chefs and Restaurateurs (WCR) and the Research Chef Association (RCA), to address the childhood obesity crisis. The partnership will produce new nutrition education programs, student-friendly healthful recipes and training manuals for school food service staff.
“This is the first time in history that the chefs’ associations of our nation have come together for a common cause,” stated Kevin Ryan, executive director of the International Corporate Chefs Association (ICCA). “First Lady Michelle Obama’s Chefs Move to Schools initiative has attracted some of the most talented chefs in the nation to help curb childhood obesity. Our pilot program with Orange County Public Schools will help to blaze a path for other school districts to follow.”
The initiative is designed to reach all Orange County students and developing a model for chefs who want to work with schools in promoting healthy choices to children. The School Nutrition Association and the Chef organizations will work to use this model to spread the Chefs Move to Schools initiative.
OCPS FNS selected 15 schools to participate in the program, and the culinary associations invited 15 chefs to partner with the school food service managers in each school. These teams are working together to identify ways to improve operations, food presentation and menu choices. The chefs are making at least two brainstorming visits to their assigned schools and consulting with the school’s Food Service Managers on the potential impact of cost, labor and other factors.
The teams met this week to share their recommendations and select the top five priority initiatives that will have the greatest potential positive impact on their assigned school’s meal program. Partners will then develop supporting materials to assist in implementing the new nutrition education programs, menu items and training courses; and these improvements will be implemented district-wide in late January 2011with a kick-off recognition event.
“Serving the nation’s 10th largest school district, Orange County Public Schools Food and Nutrition is a leader in the school nutrition field and we are always seeking new ideas and creative ways to promote healthy lifestyles for our children,” said Lora Gilbert, Director of FNS. “We are excited to create the Chef Initiative model and proud to have the opportunity to share our success with other schools.”
The School Nutrition Association (SNA), a partner of Let’s Move!, and the Chefs Move to Schools initiative, will share these materials with its 53,000 school nutrition professional members working in school districts across the country. SNA has been promoting the Chefs Move to Schools initiative and developing a Chefs’ Table leadership panel to utilize professional Chefs’ knowledge, experience and visibility to enhance school meal programs across the country. As a result, the participating culinary organizations, representing thousands of chefs, are poised to mobilize their members to use the model program to assist schools throughout the United States.
Each year Orange County Public School (OCPS) Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) serves more than 26 million meals and snacks for the nation’s 10th largest school district. That is approximately 143,000 breakfast and lunches per day or one million meals every seven school days. The department brings in more than $45 million in federal monies to the school district, providing award winning programs with recognitions from the USDA “Best Practice” award for increasing student meal participation by 40%, as well as the USDA “Best Practice” 2010 and 2011 awards for Promoting a Healthy School Environment and Peta2 Award for being one of the top five school districts in the country to offer vegetarian options.
Tags: childhood obestiy, International Corporate Chefs Association, Marketing Ala Carte, Orange County Public Schools Food and Nutrition