Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chatham County School Chef Challenge… The Interviews

(This is a post by Tami Schwerin of The Abundance Foundation, one of the Chef Challenge partners.)
As we continue our Chatham County Schools Chef Challenge, we offered the children of Chatham County the opportunity to go visit the Chefs in their environment and see what it is like and to ask questions about what it’s like to be a Chef.  The kids that participated either were very interested in becoming a Chef or had a big interest in nutrition.
On Saturday, March 19th, we visited the beautiful Carolina Inn in downtown Chapel Hill.  Chef Jimmy’s Sous Chef Jeff and General Manager were on hand to host us that day.  We learned that they sometimes have 12 weddings a WEEKEND.  Wow.  They work all weekends, nights and holidays and don’t think twice.  The kids wanted to know what they liked about his job and he loved working with Chef Jimmy, being creative and the fast pace of the job.  He pointed out that it was a team effort and one of the most important jobs was the dishwasher who rarely gets any limelight!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Radio station 1360 WCHL Chef Challenge Story

Radio station 1360 WCHL has a Chef Challenge news story on its website entitled "Acclaimed Chefs Take On Cafeteria Food Challenge." 

Read it here:

Monday, March 7, 2011

Eat a Rainbow Week - March 7-13

The Chatham County Schools, CCCC Natural Chef Program, and Chatham County Public Health Department have joined together for Eat a Rainbow Week, a week-long campaign to promote the importance of eating a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables.

Eat a Rainbow Week 2011 will be celebrated from March 7th-13th to coincide with National Nutrition Month. Each weekday during Eat a Rainbow Week has a theme color:
Monday, March 7th: Red
Tuesday, March 8th: Orange & Yellow
Wednesday, March 9th: Green
Thursday, March 10th: Blue & Purple
Friday, March 11th: Celebrate the whole rainbow!

Read more on the Chatham County Public Health Department Website!

Friday, March 4, 2011

J.S. Waters Signs “School Wellness Constitution”

On February 7th, J.S. Waters School became the first to sign and adopt a School Wellness Constitution. In doing so, J.S. Waters shows that it is committed to being a healthy place to work and learn.  J.S. Waters Principal Beverly Browne and PTA president Dawn Ziblay, George Greger-Holt, Director of Student Services for Chatham County Schools, and Ellie Morris, School Health Liaison with the Chatham County Public Health Department, all participated in the signing.  The constitution lays out steps that J.S. Waters will take to promote the health of its students, their families, the school staff, and the school environment as a whole.
Some actions J.S. Waters plans to take include ensuring active daily recess for students and participating in county-wide health education programs. Each school that creates a School Wellness Constitution chooses health-promoting activities that will be feasible and enjoyable for its community.
Planning and creating a School Wellness Constitution is a simple way for schools to think about what they can do to promote health and then put it down in writing.  If you’re interested in creating a wellness constitution for your school, please contact Ellie Morris, School Health Liaison with the Chatham County Public Health Department at or 919-545-8514.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chatham County Schools and the Chef Challenge: "A Tasty Collaboration" by Superintendent Robert Logan

Robert Logan photoThe participation of Chatham County Schools in the 2011 Chef Challenge is an exciting opportunity for our students to be treated to food prepared in partnership with outstanding local chefs.  In addition to having a “tasty treat,” students will also be able to learn about a potential career path through the experience.

A Historical Perspective
During World War II the military encountered recruits experiencing problems associated with inadequate nutrition that made them unfit for service.  Because of this, the National School Lunch Program was established under the National School Lunch Act, signed by President Harry Truman in 1946.  Since then the program has provided low-cost or free meals to students across the nation. 

The Challenges of School Lunch Programs
Unfortunately, over the years school cafeteria food often reflected the trends of society, which, in addition to healthy fruit and vegetable offerings, also included fast food favorites and fried foods.  Across the nation concern has arisen as obesity levels in our children and young people increase.  Medical issues, overall health and activity level of today’s youth is something we, as parents and educators, must do our part to address.  A MSNBC article in April of 2010 focused on concerns retired military officers have at the obesity level of today’s recruits, the opposite problem officers encountered in the 1940’s:

At the district and school levels, Chatham County Schools has put initiatives in place to model healthful living.  These include staff and student wellness programs, district food and wellness policies, and changes in school cafeteria procedures.  Strong efforts over the past few years have led to foods being baked instead of fried, salt removed from food, and little, if any, beverages with sugar being available in cafeterias.  Fresh fruits and vegetables, purchased from local vendors whenever possible, are used frequently.  Students are encouraged to try new foods, even just a taste initially, to promote choices above the favorite pizza and French fries.

One of our current challenges is balancing healthy food that contains less preservatives and fats with food that appeals to the palates of our students.  Through the partnership with successful local chefs, we can tap into their expertise using spices and flavor combinations that find that balance.  We look forward to this spring’s Chatham County Chef Challenge and appreciate the opportunity to be one of the many partners in this endeavor.
Superintendent Robert Logan