“If I could go to every school myself , I would!” said Chef Lovely, a Chicago chef, recording artist and television personality, of today’s Chef in the Classroom experience. “I’ve seen the direct impact it has on kids and families and absolutely love what this is all about.” While Chef Lovely can’t travel to every school in the city, she’s joined today by more than 60 other chefs who are fanning out across Chicago to bring veggie tastings, healthy eating lessons and a love of fresh produce to kids right in their classrooms.
Chef in the Classroom is a response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s call to action for chefs to get involved in schools; in particular, it’s part of the Chefs Move to Schools Chicago initiative.
Chef Lovely, known for her jewel-encrusted kitchen utensils on the TV show “Hell’s Kitchen,” took part in the first Chef in the Classroom day last October and has stayed involved in the effort to bring healthy eating messages to schools.
“The children were fabulous and very opinionated” about their fruit and veggies, she said. “I just tell them, open your mind and heart, taste these fruits and vegetables, love the chef and have fun with me!” Based on the students’ response, they did indeed love the chef and love the great-tasting healthy produce she shared with them in the form of a fruit and veggie salsa.
Lovely became interested in healthy eating at schools when her own nephew began attending child care and she saw the food he was being served. She began to pack healthy lunches for him that were a hit with his friends and their parents. “I started thinking, how big can I take this?” she said. She began serving as a chef ambassador with Common Threads and, with Chef in the Classroom, is making her message part of the national movement for healthy eating in schools.
“Sometimes we just have to step outside ourselves to make a difference,” she said. “As chefs, we can step outside our daily role and make a difference in our communities. With kids, if they see your passion and enthusiasm, you’ll be successful and they’ll jump right in.”
Kudos to Chef Lovely for her remarkable work to bring healthy eating to kids across Chicago!
Plus: Check out Chef Stephanie Izard’s message about her Chef in the Classroom experience!