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Healthy Food Tasting at Drew K-8 School for the Let’s Move Recipe Challenge

January 11, 2011, Volume 57, No. 17

lets move

On December 17, 2010 the 250 K-8 students at Drew Elementary School at 38th and Powelton Avenue had an especially colorful and healthy lunch thanks to the efforts of the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative (AUNI), a university-community partnership to improve nutrition and wellness. A program of the University of Pennsylvania’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships, AUNI is working to leverage the expertise of young chefs to improve school health. A newly formed partnership with Iron Chef Jose Garces supports AUNI’s submission to First Lady Michelle Obama’s School Lunch Menu Contest, the Let’s Move Contest.

healthy meal

AUNI Healthy Cooking Clubs worked with Mr. Garces and a team of chefs from partner restaurants to prepare three menu items for all students to taste and evaluate. The menu items included honey glazed sweet potato samosas with a spicy tomato sauce, barley with apple parsnip risotto and black bean and green lentil burgers topped with pickled cabbage (at right).

Youth from the cooking programs were instrumental in selecting the menu items and developing recipes. All food was prepared in the Drew School cafeteria under the supervision of AUNI staff, Jose Garces and staff and School District of Philadelphia School Food Services personnel. Children and youth from AUNI Healthy Cooking Clubs and the Youth Empowerment Program at University City High School assisted with food preparation. The complete menu, ingredient list and nutritional information for the event were approved by Philadelphia School Food Services staff and AUNI’s registered dietician.

Mr. Garces, who runs several successful restaurants in Philadelphia and was recently designated Iron Chef, said “This is a natural fit for me; I’m happy to help young culinarians.” He was presented with a certificate and a wooden bowl for his involvement. The affiliation with Mr. Garces partnered AUNI’s after-school youth cooking clubs with Garces Restaurants to develop candidate recipes for school lunches that were sampled by students and submitted to the Let’s Move Contest.


Iron Chef Jose Garces (at left) talks with a Drew School student about the healthy meal that the students tasted and then evaluated, while Meg Ferrigno, AUNI Eat.Right.Now education coordinator along with the Principal Huey Douglass listen to the student’s feedback. Eat.Right.Now is the official nutrition program of the School District.

Related: Federal Grant Enables Netter Center’s Nutrition Program to Expand Service to More High School Students

Almanac - January 11, 2011, Volume 57, No. 17