MEF partners with Food Revolution Day Chicago
Why did you sign up to be the Chicago ambassador for Food Revolution?
KATIE: My 9-5 is fast paced and full of deadlines, with no creativity or outlet to do what I really do believe in. On Twitter, I saw something about Jamie Oliver looking for people to represent their city for Food Revolution Day. Nonprofits, the culinary world, and food are big passions of mine. I strongly believed in being part of a global revolution day that starts small within your community. I didn't think i was going to be accepted!
Why did you want MEF involved?
KATIE: I did a little of research regarding what Food Revolution accomplishes goal-wise. They value: family atmosphere, kids at all learning levels, what it means to cook at home vs. buying out, teaching these skills early on (I believe this too), and incorporating them into everyday lifestyles. I thought, "Where can i go to find passionate families and children?" The stars aligned very well. I automatically thought of MEF. Everything they're looking for we have [at Midtown and Metro]: passionate parents, really diverse, involved in the community -- it's what MEF is all about.
What did Food Revolution Day accomplish in your own words?
KATIE: From beginning to end, I saw people wanting to learn, and everyone talked together with passion. We started with presentations, moved to interactive discussions and the judging contest, then by the end of the day, we were doing yoga and jumping jacks!
BRIAN: What a great day it was for the Jamie Oliver Foundation, Centered Chef and a few Midtown Center boys. It was fun-filled and educational. Our day started as we arrived to Centered Chef and met Katie Wilkes, Food Revolution Ambassador, and Chef Ryan Hutmacher, Founder & CEO for Centered Chef. The first presentation was delivered by Shelly Herman, a farmer-reseller, a retailer who sells primarily produce directly from farmers. Shelly challenged the audience's knowledge of common vegetables. Then it was time for the three Chicago Chefs to square off in preparing simple, healthy meals using common vegetables and grains. Before we departed this great adventure, there was a raffle which proceeds go to the Jamie Oliver Foundation. Two of our Midtown parents each won their choice of an immersion blender or mini food processor. They were quite shocked and happy!
What did the Midtown boys do?
BRIAN: The Midtown Student Judges were very attentive to see which of the chefs pulled this off the best.
KATIE: They had a lot of fun! They were to give their opinion on healthy dishes prepared by great chefs and taste dishes, ranking them according to best of 3 categories: (1) creativity (2) taste (3) overall best. It was great to make them think about food in three different ways, going beyond what you have on your plate and just eating it.
BRIAN: The three dishes were:
- Chef Ryan Hutmacher -- Colorful baby carrots with whole grains, cherry tomato and fresh lemon juice salad.
- Chef Phil Fox -- Quinoa grain, parsley, shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), and Daiya (a vegan cheese) all wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla and toasted.
- Chef Eric Stein -- Zucchini (both green and yellow), fennel, carrot, and red bell pepper "pasta" with a "sauce" of parsley, lemon juice and olive oil.
The winning chef was Chef Ryan Hutmacher. The judges loved the simplicity of the carrots and thought the side salad was very tasty.
Any notable memories with the Midtown boys?
KATIE: After each dish came out, one student repeated, "That's the best one!" After judging, I asked them, 'Did you ever do anything like this before?' ("NO!") "Did you like it?" ("Yeah this was awesome, they are real chefs!")
If there was anything I remember it was their faces. They said, 'This is so great! You even have a kitchen downstairs!" What they enjoyed most is being next to a REAL CHEF -- it was something totally out of the ordinary for them.
I did notice the room with them than without them. When they left, something was missing! They were the most dynamic part of the entire audience. They were the life of the party in their own way.
Any last words?
BRIAN: Well, that was our morning! Remember that the Midtown Educational Foundation does great things at its two centers, Midtown & Metro. However, do not forget that we are also a great community partner, always looking for ways to partner with other like-minded organizations. Thank you very much Katie and Ryan for inviting the Midtown Educational Foundation. I look forward to seeing you at Midtown soon.!
Media HitsChicagoNOW - Food Revolution Day Chicago Events and Why You Should Participate
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The Centered Chef - Centered Chef Set to Host Food Revolution Day