Some local schools are going gourmet to promote healthier eating.
Thursday, several school cooks gathered in the kitchen at Western High in Bay City for a "Chef Showcase." It's all part of the Michigan Department of Education's "Healthier U.S. Schools Challenge."
Chef Dave McNamara is on a mission to make schools across Michigan healthier.
"It's not healthy until they eat it. It's my job to make them want to eat it," McNamara said.
He's developed recipes and tailored them to fit within the salt, fat and vegetable guidelines set for schools.
Thursday, McNamara spent the day at Bay City Western guiding a kitchen full of sous chefs from area schools. They are all ready to take on the challenge of getting students to make better eating choices by giving them better options.
The chefs are preparing a list of new healthy recipes they hope will satisfy student's appetites and taste buds.
"We're going to take sweet Thai chili chicken, which is kind of like sweet and sour chicken with a little hit to it. So when they try it it's going to give them a little jump and they're going to go, 'Wow!' We're going to put that over brown rice. So it's going to be healthy," said McNamara.
The chefs worked all morning slicing and dicing fresh vegetables for hearty Tuscany soup, Thai chili chicken and fresh baked pizza. Meals that with student's approval, school officials say will be added to their lunch menu permanently.
"That's what we're doing this for. We want to serve the kids what they like," said Lorie Grant, food service director at Bay City Public Schools.
At lunchtime, the chefs put the recipes to the test.
"It's really good," said Molly Freed, a senior at Western.
"It's good, definitely different. I'd like to have this every day probably," agreed Alisha Evans, also a senior.
And that's exactly the reaction the chefs and school officials were hoping for.
"Healthy is good and we need to start changing our eating habits," Grant commented.
Copyright 2012 WNEM (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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