Chefs Move to Schools
Fall 2012 Newsletter
Back To School Means Chefs Move to School

The end of August and the beginning of September bring us a respite from the heat and a return to school for millions of kids across the country. It's a great time for chefs and schools to reengage in their commitment to create partnerships in their communities with the mission of collaboratively educating kids about food and healthy eating. Often times all we need is a friendly voice to help us push forward in these efforts. To that end we hope the events and updates below bring a sense of joy and hope for the school year ahead!

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divider   Free Chefs Move to Schools Training   divider

Are you interested in a free training designed to introduce chefs to the school nutrition program? If so, the National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI) is currently looking for 21 chefs who are interested in attending our Connect: Chefs to Schools Training on November 14, 2012, in Seattle, WA. NFSMI will reimburse participants' travel expenses according to the NFSMI Participant Travel Guidelines. Contact Lois Coleman at for more information.

divider   A Thank You to
Chefs Move to Schools

In December 2011, I started working with a childcare center that desperately needed a food makeover. Having raised three daughters, I instinctively knew that you need to introduce a plant-based diet when they are very young and make it fun. Since my daughters thought a visit from their mom at their high school would ruin their social life, I found some very agreeable toddlers to feed. We planned a community garden all winter and erected an herb garden on the playground to stock the kitchen. The garden helps feed over 100 preschoolers who eat fruits and vegetables three times a day at an average cost of $2.14 per child. We no longer have foods from cans and baking has become part of our daily routine. I spend a few hours a week in every classroom (all seven of them) talking about good food, nutrition and just enjoying the goodness of real food. Especially now in the late-summer since we are busy harvesting the gardens!

So thank you CHEFS MOVE TO SCHOOL! You are helping us make a difference.

Jan Sailus, CWPC

divider   Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Winner   divider

Chefs Move to Schools volunteer inspires own child to make a difference and win a national recipe competition

A very active Chefs Move to Schools volunteer, Katherine Guylay inspired not only her community in Sun Valley, Idaho, to get healthy, but also her very own child Elena to get involved in making a change.

Elena Guylay, age 11, won the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge for her state with her easy and delicious dish Fiesta Casserole. Her recipe passed the test at the D.C. Central Kitchen and was judged by White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass, Chef Jose Andres, Marshall and Alex Reid (authors of Portion Size Me), Epicurious Editor-in-Chief Tanya Steel and representatives from the USDA and the Department of Education.

"It sounded like a fun opportunity, and we have the best recipe I've ever tasted in my whole life," said Elena. "I wanted to share it with other kids!"

Elena traveled with 53 other challenge winners to the White House and enjoy a Kids' "State Dinner" on August 20th with First Lady Michelle Obama.

The Fiesta Casserole dish is gluten- and nut-free and includes most of the USDA's ChooseMyPlate food groups. Elena served it to her class with raw carrots, celery, jicama and avocado slices.

  Elena Guylay

Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winner Elena Guylay

Elena continues to stay busy promoting healthy eating to kids by creating a fun and quick video about her mother's volunteer work with her fifth-grade class. Check out her recipe below!

divider   RECIPE: Fiesta Casserole   divider

Here is Elena Guylay's Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winning recipe, Fiesta Casserole, for the state of Idaho. This recipe competed against three other finalists in the state to go onto Washington, D.C., and a total of 1,200 recipe submissions nationwide, so you know it is delicious and healthy!

Fiesta Casserole

Fiesta Casserole


Start to finish: (60 minutes)


  • 1 1/2 cups (dry) quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup (dry) brown rice
  • 2 16 oz. jars of salsa, your favorite brand
  • 4 cans (15 oz.) of beans- rinsed;
    Tip: We used various types to make it colorful: kidney, pinto, and black
  • 2 16oz containers of cottage cheese
  • Juice of 1-2 limes, depending on your taste
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, washed, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 bags (8oz) of shredded cheese

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cover two 9x12 Pyrex baking dishes with foil.
  • On the stovetop or in a rice cooker, prepare the rice and quinoa. Combine the rice and quinoa mix with the remaining ingredients, except shredded cheese.
  • Split the mix between the two baking dishes and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
  • Take the casserole from oven, remove foil and sprinkle cheese on top. Return to the oven for about 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Serve immediately with avocado slices, carrots, celery, jicama, extra salsa and lime.

Kindergartners Take the Lead
in Changing School Food

The healthy food message is spreading – kids can help chefs make change in schools. This story is about P.S. 230, a Title I school located in the Kensington section of Brooklyn, New York. In 2011, three kindergarten students at P.S. 230 in Brooklyn learned how to read nutrition labels and spent lunch time discussing the amount of sugar in the chocolate milk served in the school cafeteria. Alison Brackman, their kindergarten teacher told the kids that just talking about it wasn't going to change anything. Inspired by her words and empowered by her lessons on writing letters, Nathaniel and Rami were spurred to action and wrote letters to the school principal, assistant principal and school food service manager.

The timing was just right – the letters from the kids spurred the school to make change. The school now serves chocolate milk only at Friday lunch. The wellness committee is continuing to monitor milk consumption and discuss other ways to ensure calcium rich foods are included in the school food menu.

A year later, the boys have expanded their healthy food group and wrote and recorded a song to inspire other kids to eat healthy food. Peer influence was an important part of a program brought to the school by a Chefs Move to Schools volunteer. The kids are onto something with their song.

The song premiered on WMFU's show Minor Music and can be heard here, at 5:06.

Inspired by Chefs Move to Schools, volunteer culinary professionals have joined P.S. 230's wellness committee and are implementing simple and inexpensive food education programs in classrooms and the cafeteria. The program is modeled on a program developed by Food Network star and nutritionist Ellie Krieger for her daughter's public school. Many New York City public schools already have salad bars in place, but kids don't always participate or choose the fresh fruits and vegetables that are available. To showcase the vegetables, a chef volunteer selects an item, such as red bell peppers, and prepares a 10-minute lesson about different kinds of peppers. The lesson is delivered to each classroom by parents, and bite size tastes are provided in the cafeteria at lunch time. With the help of peer influence, nearly every student tasted a red pepper at lunch, and the volunteers received many requests for more. Parent volunteers felt like rock stars, and an observer might have thought they were handing out sugary treats, not red pepper slices. P.S. 230 began this program with the first grade class in the spring of 2012 and hope to reach all grades in the fall.

Working with parents, the Chef was able to secure a table at the year-end school fair. Two simple, hands-on games were designed to engage kids in making healthy food choices. The first game had kids use teaspoons to guess how much sugar was in a number of different drinks. The second had kids guess a single portion size of various snack foods. The local supermarket donated watermelon and anyone who participated in an activity got a free piece. Several hundred children participated in the program, staffed by parents and the volunteer chef.

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We forward to working with you!

-Chefs Move to Schools Team

Chefs Move to School Website