BLOOMINGTON, Minn.–Schwan’s Company is bringing a talented team of chefs to Albuquerque on Thursday, Nov. 30, to collaborate with school officials, students and other organizations in developing exciting ideas for school meal programs.
The team, known as the Schwan’s Chef Collective, will meet with Rio Grande High School students in brainstorming sessions for new, nutritious school meals. On Thursday evening, students at Kirtland Elementary School will cook alongside the chefs for a “Homework Diner” community event featuring recipes prepared with vegetables and herbs harvested from the school’s garden club.
One goal of the session is to address common challenges K-12 food-service operators face each day, such as government nutrition regulations, budget constraints and students’ evolving tastes. To accomplish this, Schwan’s Food Service, Inc., a Schwan’s subsidiary, arranged working meetings with Schwan’s Chef Collective and the district’s Executive Director of Food and Nutrition Services Sandy Kemp. The team, which will include Schwan’s culinary team, chefs Jet Tila, Adrienne Cheatham and Todd Erickson, will work to provide solutions that include easy ways to add variety and customization to menu offerings.
Of course, the event would not be complete without input from those who use the school food program the most — the students. Schwan’s chefs will engage students as they help create on-trend applications to add excitement to school lunch options.
“We welcome the opportunity to engage in ongoing discussions to achieve the shared goal of improved nutrition in schools, which we know supports educational success. Schools are a great place for students to try new foods and learn how to make healthy choices as they enjoy mealtimes together. We commend the work of school food-service directors across the country,” said Trevor Bynum, president of Schwan’s Food Service. “We are thrilled to have the Schwan’s Chef Collective bring a new level of creativity to our 40-year legacy of doing what’s right for students.”
Partnering with Kids Cook! and Farm to Table, a few of the many partners of Growing Health & Justice Coalition, the chefs and Kirtland Elementary School families will prepare a meal for a family night dinner event. Kids Cook! provides an opportunity for families to cook and learn new healthy recipes they can prepare at home. The chefs and students will use Kids Cook! recipes using ingredients from Kirtland Elementary’s garden program. Schwan’s Chef Collective is looking to highlight the importance of shared values between all organizations on educating and encouraging students to adopt healthier behaviors.
“Still in the beginning stages of the pilot program, Kirtland Elementary School is one of the ABC Community Schools that could be a model for the district in using school garden produce to feed students and families,” said Sandy Kemp, executive director of Food and Nutrition Services at Albuquerque Public Schools. “We are so happy to host this special event that will harvest, process and cook school garden produce alongside nationally renowned chefs and local leaders.”
The Schwan’s Chef Collective was formed in 2015 to help Schwan’s Company on its journey to identify trends and bring delicious concepts to life. For more information, visit www.schwanscompany.com/schwans-chef-collective.
About Schwan’s Company
Based in Minnesota for 65 years, Schwan’s Company is a privately held business that manufactures and markets quality foods through home-delivery, retail-grocery and food-service channels. Its many popular brands include Red Baron®, Tony’s® and Freschetta® pizza, Mrs. Smith’s® and Edwards® desserts, Pagoda® snacks, and Schwan’s® fine frozen foods. To learn more about Schwan’s, visit www.schwanscompany.com.
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