KDA program aims to help schools use more local foods on menus
Three chefs have begun work with Kentucky schools in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Chefs in Schools program.
“Students who eat a nutritious diet are healthier and better able to learn,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “The Chefs in Schools program utilizes professional chefs to help Kentucky schools enhance their food offerings and use more local foods. Students get more nutritious foods, and local farmers and food producers get new markets for their products.”
Chef Judy Gurnee will work with Carter County schools. Gurnee is the chef/owner of a farm-to-fork boutique catering company and is the Farm to Table caterer for Terrapin Hill Farm in Mercer. Gurnee participated in the Chefs in Schools program in 2016 and has served as a guest presenter in national and state events.
Chef Brad Mitchell will work with Anderson County schools. A native of Prospect, Mitchell was a chef at the governor’s mansion from 2003-2017 and worked for Lexington chef and cooking educator Phil Dunn for 12 years.
Chef Mike Jones will work with Elizabethtown Independent schools. Jones won the appetizer entrée contest in the Taste of Derby competition in 2016. A veteran of 17 years in the military, Jones has worked in the food service industry for 12 years.
The participating chefs will instruct personnel in culinary activities to include:
Estimating food consumption and requisition of food purchases;
Developing recipes with USDA guidelines in mind to ensure consistent quality and taste;
Helping establish presentation techniques and assisting in planning menus;
Ensuring proper use and maintenance of equipment; and
Ensuring proper safety and sanitation in the kitchen and lunch room area.
The program aims to reach all Kentucky schools participating in the National School Lunch Program, increase support of the Farm to School movement, and reduce hunger in Kentucky.
Funding for the Chefs in Schools program is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service and Kentucky Department of Education School and Community Nutrition.