Working With Kids.
One of life's greatest joys is working with children and investing in their future. I had the privilege of running an all organic, farm to fork school lunch program in the San Francisco bay area, for six years. I served in roles as both a Sous Chef and General Manager. I was responsible for creating menus, cooking lunches, snacks, caterings, and coordinating educational programs for 500 kids and faculty. I had many students and faculty members presenting with multiple food allergies/sensitivities, religious diet restrictions, lifestyle preferences, and self-selective eaters with extremely limited food choices. I successfully included every child and every adult into our daily meals and school celebrations. I made sure everyone had safe and delicious food options to nourish their growing brains and bodies each day. I take pride in the fact that not only did my kids LOVE our food, but I also made sure that each child could eat freely and safely in community with others.
Program's That I Created:
Seasonal food tastings
Harvest Soup Recipe-Kindergarten farmers market scavenger hunt.
Understanding Your Four Senses: Sweet, Sour, Bitter and Umami.
Daily Lunch Room Challenge: Who can eat the most colorful RAINBOW of fruits and vegetables?
The "I Tried Something New" student gallery polaroid picture wall.
Your Amazing Body-teaching 2nd graders about fun anatomy facts.
Kids Choice Voting Day ( on Election Day) where each student cast their vote for their 'Kid's Choice Lunch'.
After school cooking programs.
Holiday food drives-meal prep assembly kits to donate to the community shelters over the holidays.
Sports nutrition for high school athletes.
Sugar + Carbs vs. Protein + Fats = Which racecar will have enough fuel and energy to win the race?
"We are going to call you Ms. Karrot because you LOVE vegetables so much! You always say that we have to eat lots of fruits and vegetables to fuel our awesome superhero powers!"
- Sophia B. 3rd Grade
This was my office and classroom where I was the General Manager running an all organic school lunch program. I was responsible for feeding 500 kids ages 5-15, healthy, made from scratch, beautiful food. I encouraged the kids to eat a rainbow of different foods each day. I would literally walk around the lunch room, admiring, praising and high-fiving kids that made healthy food choices.
My Kindergarten class were the best eaters. They would empty this salad bar (sometimes even twice!) eating one or even two heaping plates full of vegetables and fruit each day. I still think of those kids smiling at me with their beet-stained teeth and it warms my heart.
Change IS possible.
Kids will devour fruits and veggies. I've witnessed it time and time again.
Do you know which vegetables were by far the kid's favorites? Roasted brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli- true story. Zucchini noodles and spaghetti squash were popular choices instead of pasta noodles on spaghetti day. Oven-baked kale chips are all the rage for an after school snack. Carrots and cucumbers served with hummus or avocado dip was literally eaten by the bucket full, daily.
When I hear about the kinds of foods that are being served at schools, or when I see technicolor foods devoid of nutrients being marketed to kids at the grocery store, it literally makes my heart ache. I think back to all the kids I have cooked for during the past 10 years and I know WE can do better. We can do better at home. We can do better in schools. Our kids deserve better than curly fries, chicken nuggets and quesadillas. There is no rainbow, there is no vibrancy in fried golden food. Kids growing bodies and minds are desperately needing nutrients to think, learn, play and grow. We need to bring back the rainbow of beautiful real food in our schools and in our homes.
Our kids deserve better. Together we can do better.