Fourth Annual Chefs Move to Schools cooking event showcases kid-tested and approved menu items

Lauren Williams's picture
Tuesday, November 26, 2013

For the fourth consecutive year, Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) students and food service managers worked with award-winning chefs to add new items to school menus. This continuing partnership is part of the national Chefs Move to Schools initiative. Guided by local celebrity chefs and food service managers, students moved from the school cafeteria to school kitchens to create new, healthy dishes with less sugar, salt and fat.

New items for the 2013 Elementary lunch menus were showcased at an event Friday, November 1, at Brookshire Elementary School. Chef Gary Jones from Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts, Chef Elizabeth Morvay-Leh from Platters for You and three of the OCPS food service managers, Ebony Frazier, Amy Vorhees and Michael Lopez, were able to attend and show off their creations.

The chefs were joined by OCPS representatives to enjoy the new items such as: Chicken Chili Plate, created by Chef Gary Jones; Funfetti Chicken Bowl, created by Chef Elizabeth Morvay-Leh; Food Truck Burger Sliders, created by Chef Ed Colleran (Universal City Walk); Guacamole Beef Sliders, created by Chef Marcos Colon (Universal City Walk Latin Quarter); Orange Chicken Noodle Bowl, created by Executive Chef Bryan Frick (Nestle Corporation).

Chefs Move to Schools is an essential component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative. Led by White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass, Chefs Move to Schools links chefs to schools in their communities to improve child nutrition, teach children about healthy lifestyles, and help combat childhood obesity. Chefs Move to Schools is designed to teach children about healthy food options, encourage educated meal choices, ensure kids are getting enough physical activity, and advocate for healthier school environments.

Partners that make this initiative possible are: School Nutrition Association, United States Department of Agriculture, Florida Department of Agriculture, American Culinary Federation, Research Chefs Association, Women Chefs & Restaurateurs and International Corporate Chefs Association.

The innovative approach OCPS has taken to Chefs Move to Schools has earned national recognition. The OCPS program is featured as a national model on

“Chefs Move to Schools has been a success for Orange County Public Schools that extends beyond school walls. Involving students in the creation of great tasting, nutritious food builds healthy eating habits that kids share with their entire families,” said Lora Gilbert, Senior Director OCPS Food and Nutrition Services.

OCPS FNS serves more than 29 million meals and snacks each year. That is approximately 157,000 breakfast and lunch meals daily. The department brings in more than $69 million in federal dollars to the school district, providing award-winning programs.