OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Instead of Sloppy Joes, fries and canned pears, imagine kids getting a school lunch of barbeque pulled chicken and black bean quesadilla, colorful bell peppers served with low-fat ranch dip, and fresh cantaloupe slices.
That sort of transformation is the goal of the White House and the Chefs Move to Schools program. Now, the makers of Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Dressing are teaming up with the American Culinary Federation (ACF) to make that dream a reality.
With help from celebrity chef Cat Cora, the makers of Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dressing and the ACF are hosting the Lunch Break for Schools fundraiser to benefit Chefs Move to Schools. From Feb. 27 – March 2, 2012 chefs, like Cora, will create and sell delicious, healthy lunches with all proceeds going to create resources for nutrition educational programs at schools. The national fundraiser will support the Chefs Move to Schools program and its efforts to encourage healthier eating by kids – including eating more vegetables.
As part of the fundraiser, chefs across the country will develop a culinary spin on classic school lunches, using the sample lunch menu created by the White House last year as a framework. The chefs' gourmet menus will include plenty of the better-for-you options too often lacking in today's schools lunches: whole grains, low-fat dairy products, low salt and sugar, and fresh produce. Cora, who attended the announcement of the Chefs Move to Schools program in May, 2010 and who works with the program in Santa Barbara, Calif., will serve as the fundraiser's national spokesperson and executive chef.
"Since creating the best flavor using whole foods is at the heart of what we do, chefs can help break down the barriers kids have with certain foods – like vegetables – and teach them that nutritious foods can taste amazing and be fun," said Cora. "With Lunch Break for Schools, some of America's best chefs will create healthy lunches that will not only supporting an important program, like Chefs Move to Schools, but also show that good food can taste great too."
The chefs' lunches will follow the framework of a recommended one-week school lunch menu released by First Lady Michelle Obama and the White House to show the changes that could be made after the passing of the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act 2010. The menu includes vegetables and low-fat ranch dressing on four of five days.
"Parents have long known that kids will eat more vegetables if you offer them a little dip," said Jon Balousek, general manager for Hidden Valley Salad Dressings. "The White House's sample menus showed that what parents know is true at homes is also true at schools. By working with the American Culinary Federation in support of Chefs Move to School, we believe we can help improve kids' nutrition."
The commitment from the makers of Hidden Valley Salad Dressings is part of the brand's Love Your Veggies™ nutrition education campaign. Since launching the campaign in 2006, the makers of Hidden Valley Salad Dressings have donated more than $1 million to nutrition education programs. This year, in addition to the money raised in the fundraiser, Hidden Valley will donate $150,000 to the ACF's Chef & Child Foundation to create curriculum, tools and other resources needed to help chefs working in schools.
The ACF, the organization tapped to recruit chefs for the Chefs Move to Schools program, will recruit chefs from its 20,000 members to participate in this fundraiser.
"Our chefs have been a key part of the Chefs Move to Schools program since the day the First Lady announced it on the White House lawn," said American Culinary Federation President, Michael Ty, CEC, AAC. "This fundraiser helps us enlist more chefs and secure more resources to educate kids about food and nutrition. Getting involved is easy: purchase a lunch and push us toward a break-thru in bettering kids' nutrition."
Chefs interested in signing up to participate in the fundraiser can visit AcfChefs.org/LunchBreakforSchools. For more information on the Love Your Veggies program, including details about the chefs involved and recipes featured in the lunches, visit LoveYourVeggies.com.
About Hidden Valley®
The HV Food Products Company is a subsidiary of The Clorox Company, headquartered in Oakland, Calif. The Clorox Company is a leading manufacturer and marketer of consumer products with 8,100 employees and fiscal year 2011 revenues of $5.2 billion. Clorox markets some of consumers' most trusted and recognized brand names, including its namesake bleach and cleaning products, Green Works® naturally derived home care products, Pine-Sol® cleaners, Poett® home care products, Fresh Step® cat litter, Kingsford® charcoal, Hidden Valley® and K C Masterpiece® dressings and sauces, Brita® water-filtration products, Glad® bags, wraps and containers, and Burt's Bees® natural personal care products. Nearly 90 percent of Clorox Company brands hold the No. 1 or No. 2 market share positions in their categories. The company's products are manufactured in more than two dozen countries and marketed in more than 100 countries. Clorox is committed to making a positive difference in the communities where its employees work and live. Founded in 1980, The Clorox Company Foundation has awarded cash grants totaling more than $84 million to nonprofit organizations, schools and colleges. In fiscal year 2011 alone, the foundation awarded $4 million in cash grants, and Clorox made product donations valued at $13 million. For more information about Clorox, visit www.TheCloroxCompany.com.
The American Culinary Federation, Inc., established in 1929, is the premier professional organization for culinarians in North America. With more than 20,000 members spanning 225 chapters nationwide, ACF is the culinary leader in offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and programmatic accreditation. In addition, ACF operates the most comprehensive certification program for chefs in the United States, with the Certified Executive Chef® designation the only culinary credential accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). ACF is home to ACF Culinary Team USA, the official representative for the United States in major international culinary competitions, and to the Chef & Child Foundation, founded in 1989 to promote proper nutrition in children and to combat childhood obesity. For more information, visit www.acfchefs.org.
ACF's Chef & Child Foundation (CCF) was founded in 1989 to educate children and families in understanding proper nutrition through community-based initiatives led by ACF members, and to be the voice of the culinary industry in its fight against childhood hunger, malnutrition and obesity. CCF offers chefs numerous resources and programs, including "Chefs in the Classroom" for preschoolers through fifth-graders; "Cooking for Kids," for third- through eighth-graders; and "Hit a Homerun for Nutrition." Each year, on October 16, CCF and ACF chapters nationwide celebrate Childhood Nutrition Day. Chef's Outreach to the Community Service Day, which is held annually in conjunction with the ACF national convention, is another anticipated community outreach event. CCF also offers many free resources to the public, such as monthly "Culinary Nutrition News" and "Ingredient of the Month" articles. For more information, visit www.acfchefs.org/CCF.
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SOURCE Hidden Valley