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Local chef takes part in first lady’s program

June 17th 11:06am, 2010

061710_mealthymesEarlier this month, chefs from 37 states visited Washington to participate in the launch of Michelle Obama’s Chefs Move to Schools program. The only area chef included: Lauren McCabe.

McCabe – who operates the MealThymes personal-chef service in Augusta, Mo. – passed a whirlwind 36 hours in the nation’s capital for the June 4 conference after being nominated to attend by Operation Food Search, where she volunteers.

“The first lady’s goal is to really eliminate or reverse the childhood obesity epidemic within one generation,” McCabe told us. Chefs Move to Schools, which the Department of Agriculture will oversee, will pair schools with local chefs, who will try to educate children about the benefits of a nutritional diet, she noted.

“Government can’t dictate this – we have to change this locally,” said McCabe. “You can’t legislate a healthy lifestyle. … It’s not part of our national culture to legislate those things, so we really have to change a belief structure.” The Agriculture Department should be pairing chefs and schools in late summer or early fall, McCabe estimated, although she herself has already informally spoken to one school district in St. Charles County, where she lives.

Other shoppers’ supermarket purchases often astound her, McCabe noted. “If people read what was in this stuff, if they took the time to learn it, then most people would never eat it again,” she said. “And I’m not one of those people that says you can’t ever have a bag of potato chips or you can’t ever go to a fast-food burger place. I mean, let’s be realistic. But know what you’re eating and know what’s in it so you can make the decision. And certainly don’t eat it every day.”

McCabe expressed great enthusiasm for Chefs Move to Schools. “The program is something that’s really, really very close to my heart,” she said, “because I’ve been a volunteer for Operation Frontline for about a year and a half now and teach classes in a classroom environment and work with economically disadvantaged families to try to teach them to eat healthy on a budget.”

Photo courtesy of Lauren McCabe

By Bryan A. Hollerbach

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One Response to “Local chef takes part in first lady’s program”

  1. larry Says:
    June 17th, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    You are so right, nutrition cannot be dictated, but rather learned. This is something that should have been started long age.

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