Chefs chat about school food at the White House
When you get a chance to go to the White House, you go.
Monica Coulter, one of our corporate chefs, just had that opportunity as part of an event for the “Chefs Move to Schools” program.
“It’s certainly the coolest work-related trip I’ve ever done, it was just incredible to be there,” says Monica, who works with school districts across the U.S. for the K-12 channel in our Convenience & Foodservice segment.
She was at the White House on Tuesday for a meeting including the Chefs Move to Schools National Advisory Committee, which gathered to discuss the program’s accomplishments to date and its goals. Monica was named to that nine-member committee last year.
Monica’s committee was one of several connected to First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” childhood obesity initiative that held meetings at the event, bringing more than 100 people to Washington, D.C. They also were able to hear from the first lady, and hear her passion for healthier food in schools.
“She’s so involved in this issue and it was a privilege to be in the same room with her,” Monica says. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for her focus on healthy school meals.”
The first lady unveiled Chefs Move to Schools in 2010. It is managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and also involves the Institute of Child Nutrition, part of the University of Mississippi’s School of Applied Sciences.
With more than 31 million children participating in the National School Lunch Program and more than 11 million participating in the National School Breakfast Program, good nutrition at school is more important than ever. Monica’s team at General Mills has played an important part. She cites our work to provide more whole grain breakfast and lunch options and yogurt smoothie recipes as examples.
Monica says that being on the Chefs Move to Schools advisory committee is a natural extension of the work she does in schools nearly every week.
“It helps me connect with people who have the same passion that I do – serving good food to kids,” Monica says. “It also gives me better insight into what other people are doing to get healthy food into schools and I’m in a position to make a little difference.”
Chefs like Monica bring expertise and star power to Chefs Move to Schools, as they donate their time to working with parents, teachers, administrators and school nutrition staff.
“Chefs are food celebrities, sort of, so if you get chefs involved you get kids more enthused,” says Monica. “Sometimes students will try things simply if someone in a white coat and white hat serves it to them.”
Appropriately, Monica wore her white chef’s coat at the White House.
If you’re a chef and you’re interested in signing up for Chefs Move to Schools, visit ChefsMoveToSchools.org.
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