Chefs show that nutritious food can be tasty and affordable

March 21, 2011
Carla Hall A competitor on TV’s “Top Chef All Stars”

“I am here to remind you that the school lunch is changing. It is becoming more colorful. We’re doing what we can.”

Hall cooked the lunch served at the summit. Challenged to make the lunch for $2.32 a person — the amount the federal government spends on many school lunches throughout the United States — she said, “It’s a very slim budget, but it can be done.”

She served chicken pot pie, a tasty blend of poached chicken, peas, mushrooms, carrots, celery, onions and fresh herbs in a chicken veloute served on a portion of flaky crust; a tossed salad; and a pear poached in orange-scented simple syrup and topped with rosemary oat crumble.

Sam Kass White House Assistant Chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives

“We always talk about how pleasurable food is and how much we enjoy food. One of my only sources of relaxation these days is a dinner with some friends. But I think we sometimes forget that the most important reason, the reason we eat, is for nourishment. The reason we eat is to be healthy, is to take care of ourselves. And I think when we talk about cost and we talk about all the barriers to eating healthy, I think our greatest weapon against that is cooking. You can make a really healthy meal for a dollar. Oatmeal is a great example. You can make it for 35 cents.”

“In the end what we’re saying is cook with more whole grains, eat more fruits and vegetables. I mean, if we did just those two things, we’d be on the way to solving this issue. And I don’t think there’s any chef who has a problem with sweet potatoes or barley or all of the various great whole grains or lentils. I mean, all chefs love to cook with those things. And fruits and vegetables are the basis of cooking.”

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