On Tuesday, I invited a crew to join me at Disney II Magnet School in Chicago to see Pilot Light's lesson in action. We observed Kindergarten through 6th grade classroom lessons covering a variety of topics, all aligned with core curriculum standards. Chicago's top chefs from Big Shoulders Coffee, Floriole, Our House, Sunday Dinner Club, Hot Doug's, Avec, Big Star, Dove's Luncheonette, Nico Osteria, Publican, Lula Cafe, Nightwood, Parson's Chicken and Fish, A10 Hyde Park, Billy Sunday, Yusho, PQM and El Ideas led the students in lively and engaging lessons that gave me goosebumps watching. The students were so engaged! I didn't want to leave the classrooms. Oh can I just hear a little more?! I marveled at the ease through which math, science, history and culture could be taught in such a relevant way to the students. Here are a few examples of the lessons taught:
American Cultures in and Rice
Chicago Neighborhoods: Chicago's Little Italy and Cannolis
The American Revolution: Tea and the trouble in Boston.
We all joined the students in the cafeteria for lunch (there was around 20 of us!) After a brief Q&A with the Pilot Light team, we split up and each of us sat with a lunch table full of kids. I could have talked to those kids all day. The chef prepared lunch menu was quite ambitious at glance (would my kids eat this?)
Main entree = Bibimbap (a new one for me!) with brown rice, egg noodles, cucumbers, tomatoes, pea shoots, carrots, radish and broccoli.
Dessert = Strawberry rhubarb cornbread cobbler.
Beverage = Chilled hibiscus tea.
As our tables were humbly served by the chefs who taught the lessons, I asked the kids all kinds of questions about their experiences with Pilot Light and they dug into their bowls (many had lunches from home too). I was SHOCKED. First of all, it was delicious, but I love everything. My kids are another story. A few of these kids wanted seconds. Everyone ate their Bibimbap. Trying and eating this healthy, nutrient dense food was simply "par for the course". At the end of lunch, a table full of kids started chanting "Pilot Light, Pilot Light" which soon turned into a roar of kids pumping their fists and chanting into the air. Smiles everywhere. This cafeteria's lunch and food culture was electric. Pilot Light has figured.it.out. And it's taken A LOT of hard work of collaboration with the Disney II administration and other collaborating Chicago Public schools to get to this extraordinary place. I am utterly inspired and my sleeves are rolled up.
Thank you Christina, Sarvin, Jared and Erin for joining me! It was so lovely to meet you Kat (you really must check out her sweet blog - A Girl and Her Food)! Who knew gathering around food education would be so fun?!
I cannot believe how fast Food Revolution Day 2015 is approaching!! "Fighting for Food Education" has never been more important - We need programs like Pilot Light in every school, for every child if we want to successfully battle our nation's obesity and food related health crisis.
Visit www.foodrevolutionday.com today! Sign + share Jamie Oliver's petition urging all of the G20 nations to get practical food education back into our children's classrooms. It's the most important thing you can do today.
Yesterday was my birthday, so do it for me, and my 38 year old birthday wish.
Without further ado, I am thrilled to announce our Lake County and Chicago plans:
1. Food Rev Lake County + Chicago will be partnering with Chef Jared Batson of Nomad Food Company at the Green City Market on Saturday, May 9th. We’ll be cooking up some Food Revolution Day inspired “Squash it” pizza’s together in his “specialty wandering wood fired oven”. A percentage of the "squash it" pizza proceeds will benefit Pilot Light Chefs Food Education programming.
2. Food Revolution Lake County + Chicago is joining forces with Pilot Light Chefs to get a fun food education lessons into local Chicago and suburban schools on Thursday, May 14 and Friday, May 15 (Food Revolution Day!). Food Ambassadors Lindsey Shifley, Christina Erickson, Sarvin Haghighi will be leading food education activities at Fairhaven School (Mundelein) and Stevenson High School (Lincolnshire) and Chicago Public schools. We will join the globe in watching Jamie Oliver's Squash-it Sandwich cooking demo on May 15 to get students and staff inspired to eat the rainbow + cook more often from scratch with their friends and families.
3. Food Revolution Lake County is joining Erin Cummingsford and the Liberty Prairie Foundation’s Plant Sale & Farm Open House on Saturday, May 16th to help spread Food Revolution Day Education awareness for all.
4. Stay tuned for another community event taking shape!
Today is my 52tries posting day... but alas, I have no pictures for you. Find out why here.