Coach "Bev" Kearney Joins Judging Panel for McDonald's USA Happy Meal Chefs

Contest places renewed emphasis on children's wellbeing; winning young chefs will help in the creation and testing of new, nutrition-minded Happy Meal choices

Mar 21, 2012, 09:10 ET from McDonald's USA, LLC

OAK BROOK, Ill., March 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- McDonald's USA announces Coach Beverly "Bev" Kearney will join the judging panel for the company's first Happy Meal Chefs, a contest seeking top inspiring stories from parent-and-child teams who enjoy cooking with wholesome ingredients at family mealtime. The contest, which is part of McDonald's renewed emphasis on children's wellbeing, will award 10 kids a trip to the London 2012 Olympic Games as part of the company's Global Champions of Play program where they will join kids from around the world to celebrate balanced eating and fun play. Two Grand Prize Winners will become honorary "Happy Meal Chefs" and experience a one-of-a-kind apprenticeship with McDonald's executive chef Dan Coudreaut.


Through April 18, McDonald's Happy Meal Chefs is looking to reward top kids' stories of nutritious fun at family mealtime. Kearney, head coach for The University of Texas (UT) women's track and field and cross country teams and 2012 recipient of the BET Honors education award, will join five-time U.S. Olympic Swimmer and McDonald's Global Champions of Play Ambassador Dara Torres and nutrition experts Dr. Keith Ayoob and Sylvia Klinger on the contest's judging panel. Kearney, who is one of the most successful and decorated coaches across all collegiate athletics, will help the panel review the contest's video submissions and select the 10 finalists.

"The importance of nutrition should be emphasized at an early age," said Kearney. "In some cases, health issues that impact adults, such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes, partially result from a lack of nutrition education in childhood. I am honored to work with McDonald's as a judge for Happy Meal Chefs because as an African-American athlete and coach, I know many of these issues are more prevalent in my community, and I believe strongly that by placing a positive emphasis on children's wellbeing, the contest will help promote healthier communities."

Parents or legal guardians with kids ages eight to 11 are eligible to enter online at the Happy Meal Chefs contest page. Participants must answer a brief questionnaire and submit a short video online that creatively showcases their family mealtime. They're also encouraged to learn about and feature recommended food groups from the USDA's MyPlate, the balanced-eating symbol based on federal dietary guidelines.

"Every day in McDonald's executive kitchen, my menu team and I aspire to come up with new, nutrition-minded menu choices that kids will love," Coudreaut said. "The Happy Meal Chefs contest is inviting families to join in our team's effort to make wholesome food fun."

Kearney added: "A number of my personal and professional accomplishments were attainable because of health, wellness, teamwork, family and community – many of the values I cherish. Happy Meal Chefs is a great contest with an even better message. I encourage all families to embrace it and submit entries. After all, that's the only way to win."

Now in her 18th coaching season at UT, Kearney was the first African-American head coach for the university. She has led the team to six national titles and is a member of the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's Hall of Fame. In 2002, an auto accident, which proved fatal for two of her friends, caused a spinal cord injury and left Kearney paralyzed. She dismissed doctors' claims that she'd never walk again and conquered paralysis. Today, she has the highest number of national championship wins among African-American coaches in an all-collegiate Division I sport.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to US residents 18 yrs+ who are parent/legal guardian of a child 8-11 yrs. Contest ends 4/18/12. Subject to Official Rules. See Official Rules at info, deadlines & complete details. Void where prohibited.

About McDonald's
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