Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kass Unveils Toolkit For Chefs Move To Schools

Major cookware makers donate more than $2 million in equipment to Let's Move!
White House assistant chef and Senior Policy Adviser for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass announced today that 1,000 schools that have matched with a chef in the Chefs Move to Schools project will soon receive a new toolkit. A group of premiere cookware manufacturers have joined Partnership for a Healthier America, the non-profit foundation that supports First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign, to provide free stainless steel pots and pans, knives, utensils, and induction burners for Chefs Move To Schools. Kass also announced that an information booklet will accompany the kitchen equipment, too.

"Schools and chefs should use the kits for cooking demonstrations that inspire young minds, and to illustrate the innovative ways kids can prepare meals that are both nutritious and tasty," Kass said, when giving details of the donation on the Let's Move! blog.

All-Clad, Anchor Hocking, T-fal, TruBamboo, and Zyliss have all stepped up to join the First Lady's campaign, and their donations of cookware are valued at more than $2 million. This morning, during a speech at the National Food Policy Conference in Washington, DC, Kass said that there are now 1,900 chefs enrolled in Chefs Move to Schools. At last count, 1,300 schools had signed up, too.

"The toolkit will also include a booklet with important guidance on how chefs can help their school become a HealthierUS Challenge school, suggestions for cooking demos along with other helpful information," Kass said.

Many chefs who have signed on for the Chefs Move to Schools project have been anxiously awaiting just such guidance on how they can best work with schools. Free cookware will be a welcome addition, since many schools lack the resources to buy such things--and many don't even have kitchens.

On September 8, when she visited New Orleans to launch Phase II of Let's Move!, Mrs. Obama announced a goal of doubling the number of schools that participate in the HealthierUS Schools Challenge by June of 2011, and adding an additional one thousand schools in each of the following two years.

"This program has spurred schools all across the country to raise their standards and transform their classrooms and cafeterias into healthy eating and learning labs for their students," Mrs. Obama said.

Kass talked up the HealthierUS School Challenge this morning, too.

"It's a terrific program, and the First Lady is trying to get many more schools to join," Kass said.

The cookware makers are also including a cookbook from American Express Publishing in the kits, which is "filled with healthy, nutritious recipes," according to Partnership for a Healthier America. The Anenberg Foundation has provided a grant to cover the costs of distributing the kits around America.

Info: The sign up sheet for USDA's Chefs Move To Schools program is here; a FAQ is here.