More than 500 chefs marched together to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Friday to attend Michelle Obama’s "Chefs Move to Schools" kickoff event on the South Lawn of the White House. Chefs were hand-selected from several culinary organizations and represent chefs from across the country committed to using their skills and knowledge to help end childhood obesity in America by promoting proper nutrition in schools. Among the guests were 58 American Culinary Federation (ACF) chefs, representing 24 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
"Food is at the core of what makes life wonderful, and you all know how the ingredients we put into our bodies can affect the way we feel, the way we think, and how we grow," Obama said to chefs in attendance. "This is especially true when we are talking about our nation’s kids. Nearly one-third of children in this country are now overweight or obese."
The Chefs Move to Schools program, which will be run through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and led by Sam Kass, White House assistant chef, is the latest in Obama's Let's Move! initiative. At the program launch Friday, Obama addressed the chefs who will participate in the pilot launch of the program and encouraged them to help kids build healthy habits to last a lifetime. She asked chefs to find other volunteers, put on cooking demonstrations, work with teachers, and help students plant a garden.
"Today’s event was truly the most exciting day of my career," says Michael Speranza, CEC, corporate chef at Custom Culinary Inc. "Wandering the grounds at the White House and touring the vegetable garden was an absolute thrill and honor. I am so excited to bring the message back home and start working with the schools."
The chefs in attendance will participate in a pilot launch of the program over the summer by adopting a school in their community and working with teachers, parents, school nutrition professionals, and administrators to help educate kids about food and nutrition. Volunteers across the nation will begin working in schools in the fall.