Friday, April 29, 2016

ACES Day - A Perfect Day for Food Education + Exercise

Our planning is complete!

On Wednesday, May 4th, our District 76 Wellness team is partnering with the Chicago Pilot Light Chefs organization to bring the common core aligned food education lesson, "Tacos Al Pastor", to West Oak Middle School on ACES Day (All Children Exercise Simultaneously). 

Here's how our Wellness Committee decided to weave Food Education into ACES day: 

1. Half of the student body will participate in a classroom Pilot Light lesson while the other half will join me in the gym for my “No Guts No Glory” presentation. Ambassador Sara Lohrman, students from her Stevenson High School Food Revolution Day Club and Chef Robert Collins will be joining me on stage to inspire and engage with West Oak students and staff. **Any teacher or school administrator who is interested in bringing Pilot Light to their school can access this special lesson online: Pilot Light Chef's - Reset the Table Curriculum. (In case you don't have time to review the materials now, take the time to watch this incredible video: The Whole World is a Taco.)

2. During lunch, all West Oak students will be inspired to "Trick Out Your Tacos" with our freshly prepared samples and a special Preferred Meals’ lunch. Our school lunch provider has aligned their lunch menu to Pilot Light's food education curriculum to include an all beef taco and hotdog lunch with an expanded condiment bar including tomatoes, lettuce, onions and jalapeƱos. A perfect pairing to our live chef's demonstration and tasting table! The SHS students will prepare Jamie’s Oliver's Simple Hummus and my special cilantro pesto; Chef Rob will demonstrate his “Sweet Potato Hummus.” The Simple Hummus is one of 10 special "Cook for your Life" recipes as part of Jamie Oliver's new Food Revolution Day Campaign being launched May 9th on The students will walk away with all three recipes to cook at home with their families!

I cannot wait to share pictures and highlights from this special day next week! I am so grateful for the collaborative efforts between our Wellness Committee, Pilot Light Chefs, Preferred Meals, SHS, Chef Rob and our amazing school administrators. This could not have happened without the positive synergy we have been building together over the past few years. I have to give a special shout out to Sue Kruckman (school nurse), Chris Willeford (school principle) and Tracy Zeman (Student Services Coordinator). Sue is our Wellness Committee Chair, West Oak nurse and a true partner in crime! I will never forget the meeting when Chris said, "Let's do this on ACES Day!" This could NOT have been accomplished without their hard work, support and mutual passion for good health and well being. I am so grateful to be a part of our D76 Wellness Team!

Speaking of TACOS... Last night, my family table "tricked out" ours with watercress and green leaf lettuce!

Happy weekend everyone!


And as today's my 39th bday (AHHHH YEA!), I'm pretty pumped to post about school food ed today!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Fifteen Amsterdam Food Symposium

For the first time since I became an Ambassador, I will be celebrating Food Revolution Day outside of Lake County. This is so I can continue to learn and bring greater collaborative food education experiences BACK here to Chicagoland. 

Super Ambassador Terri Salminen and I have shared the dream of changing the world since we met in 2012. I invited her to teach with me in the kitchens of the Prairie Farm Corps last Summer, and now I have accepted the invitation to team up on her turf.

Terri has partnered with the corporate caterer Hutten Europe for a second year, engaged in her successful campaign entitled "A Focus on Food in the Workplace." More than 100 locations throughout the Netherlands will celebrate the importance of good, fresh food throughout a week of menus inspired by a combination of recipes from both Jamie and Hutton chefs. She and I will assist these chefs and serve their beautiful lunches from May 16th through May 20th at a number of internationally renowned corporations, hospitals and hotels.

Last but not least, here are the details surrounding Terri's grand finale FRD event planned in partnership with Hutton Europe:

Fifteen Food Symposium | Food Revolution Day 2016

Ambassador Terri has gathered dedicated chefs and food influentials to cook from the heart and get involved in Food Revolution Day.

Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Amsterdam

Friday, May 20th 2016 11am-4pm

Students of all ages, parents and grandparents, health and hospitality professionals, as well as government officials will be invited to take part in the pop-up cooking school celebration of good food and basic cooking techniques.

A festival of master classes and tips will be shared by a dynamic group of passionate chefs from the corporate workplace who will team up with Fifteen apprentices and graduates. Together with an international group of Food Revolution Ambassadors, head chef Michael Verswijveren of Fifteen Amsterdam, along with a team of nutritionists, food stylist and bloggers, the newest of Jamie Oliver's "Cook for Your Life" recipes will be demonstrated in a hands-on setup of twelve teams in the heart of Fifteen.

The following food influentials will team up with Fifteen apprentices and graduates in a Food Revolution line-up featuring Jamie's "Ten Recipes That Will Save Your Life." 

Thomas Stahlman, Ambassador & Chef - DIY oaty fruit cereal and other simple breakfast ideas.
FongYee Wong, Hutton Chef - Veggie noodle stir fry and Asian velvet techniques.
Damien Sawyer, Hutton Chef - Cheese omelette and spicy "shakshouka".
Damien Taylor, Hutten Chef - The making of risotto and two stocks.
Ramon Jorge Otto, Hutton Chef - Minestrone soup, knife skills and no waste cooking.
Jeroen Lips, Hutton Chef - Vegetable noodles with garlic and peppers. 
Bram Kanters, Hutton Chef - Pan-fried salmon and how to plate a main course. 
Guus Follings & 
Joris Hendriks, Hutton Chefs - Sunday roast, butchering a chicken, chicken broth and roast potatoes.
Frank Van Hurne, Hutton Chef - Simple hummus and other healthy spreads.
Hilary Metcalfe, Blogger - Green Salad and lemon dressing, the art of fermentation.
Michael Verswijveren, Head Chef Fifteen - Lamb curry with chickpeas.
Edwin Kwakernaak, Hutton Chef - Classic tomato spaghetti and how to dress pasta.
Vardit Kohn, Nutritionist - Vegetable filled wraps, salads for a meal. Real fast food on the go.

Can you imagine? Just close your eyes and savor the scene for a minute... 

I am getting soooooooooo hungry.

Imagine events similar to this... waterfalling and popping up all over the USA, all over the GLOBE, uniting family tables everywhere: the workplace cafeteria, the home kitchen and the school lunchroom... ALL in the name of good food education!

Join the Food Revolution! Jamie and his global team of ambassadors (there's over 2,000 of us now in 196 countries!) are getting ready to inspire YOU into growing, buying, cooking, eating more real food with the ones you love.

Sign up today at

Saturday, April 23, 2016

No Guts No Glory - Fremd Wellness Week

Thank you Fremd High School for having me as a Wellness Week Speaker - What an honor to speak to your students and staff on Wednesday!

I knew I was "home" when I arrived to meet everyone and the song Geronimo came on. Last year for Food Revolution Day, I made this video with it. The song reminds me of the jump we all make when we leave the processed food highway and the waterfall of food education spreading all around us. I listen to it almost everyday...

It was a pleasure to meet the Physical Education teachers & coaches who ran the event. I have to give a special thank you to Coach Allie Miccuci (Softball & Golf) who extended the invitation to me and Coach Jason Hogrefe (Basketball) for running the auditorium sound stage. I think one of the favorite moments was reconnecting with a former travel softball teammate, Coach Christine Vlaming (Golf). She and I played together on an elite all-star travel team (The Barrington Hurricanes) over 20 years ago and you can imagine the HUGE hug I gave her. There are truly no coincidences in life!

Athletics + Food Education = My Passion Combination

It's pretty fun to connect with staff and students over the two common topics that thread and shape our lives. We exhale a little bit together to realize we're ALL going through similar struggles. We're in the trenches together.

What's in our food?

Where's our food coming from?

What is our Microbiome?

How can cooking from scratch more often improve our lives?

I love drawing the parallel between sports and food. I love making people laugh. I love learning how to teach food education better everyday.

I will be posting here more often about our local and global team's upcoming plans to help YOU celebrate with us on May 20th, Food Revolution Day!

Sign up here to join Jamie Oliver's global campaign with me and my family table.

Have a WONDERFUL weekend!