Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) was a pioneer in an initiative called Chefs Move to Schools and helped kick off its pilot program last September. Chefs Move to Schools, a partnership involving the American Culinary Federation, the International Corporate Chefs Association, the Research Chefs Association and Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, seeks to implement Michelle Obama's call for the culinary community to get involved in helping promote nutrition and combat obesity in children.
OCPS volunteered to be the pilot site, so last September, chefs from the commercial and corporate world descended on 15 district schools to observe operations and make suggestions. In January, the results were rolled out in the county's schools.
The initiative has produced 11 new recipes that will be on OCPS school menus this fall. They include a fish wrap with tilapia and cole slaw, a crispy fish taco (fish was an area the chefs especially wanted to explore), a turkey taco crunch (commodity turkey and gravy with crumbled taco chips on top) and “stealth health” items like mac and cheese with ground carrots mixed in.
(For a video of White House Chef Sam Kass discussing the Chefs Move to Schools Program and urging chefs to participate, go to food-management.com/video/white-house-chef-sam-kass-0620/index.html)