Healthy Flavors,
Healthy Kids

2014 Leadership Summit

Chef Iliana de la Vega

The 4th Annual Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids National Leadership Summit

The CIA Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids National Leadership Summit brought together school foodservice leaders from around the country, including directors and chefs, to share and learn culinary strategies, techniques, flavor insights, and food trends with the shared goal of improving the nutrition, flavor, and appeal of the foods served in our nation's schools.

Click here to see the collection of photographs from the 2014 conference on flickr.

The Rock Stars of School Nutrition

May 30, 2014

Sanna Delmonico, MS, RDN
Senior Manager – Culinary Nutrition for Strategic Initiatives
Nutrition and Food Safety Instructor

As The Culinary Institute of America’s fourth annual Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids National Leadership Summit came to a close, an attendee told me that the highlight for her this year was “all the rock star school chefs and directors” and the recipes, insights, best practices, humor, and wisdom they shared. The summit was held at the CIA’s San Antonio campus May 6-8th, and the 200 attendees, sponsors, media, and CIA staff had the pleasure of hearing from, and tasting food from, a diverse group of leaders in school nutrition.

Two rock star school chefs who are on our National School Nutrition Advisory Council, Jeremy West and Jonathan Dickl, kicked off the culinary demonstrations Tuesday night, along with Chef Jehangir Mehta. Jeremy showed us how he uses raisin paste to reduce sodium and add flavor to his district’s Sloppy Joes, while Jonathan demonstrated Spinach Maria, a Knoxville regional specialty that kids in his district love.

More rock star school chefs followed on Wednesday. David Binkle from Los Angeles Unified School District highlighted dark green vegetables, including a Broccoli Stem Salad with Lime and Feta, and Lisa Feldman, ’91, of Sodexo K-12, demonstrated a Farro Chirashi Sushi Bowl. Lisa later demonstrated 12 Dressings in 12 Minutes, a simple blended base dressing of yogurt and white beans with seemingly endless tasty variations, joking, “Ranch dressing has become a mother sauce. I don’t know how it happened.”

The Wednesday breakout sessions featured rock star directors Jessica Shelly and Kent Getzin, who inspired us with their enthusiasm and creative ideas for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, while the school chefs tested and “schoolified” a dozen recipes in the CIA kitchen.

In their session on Best Practices for Increasing Participation: Making the Most of Social Media, Deanna Segrave-Daly and Dayle Hayes emphasized the importance of spreading the word about, and sharing beautiful photographs of, the flavorful food our nation’s school nutrition directors and chefs are serving to our children. We were thrilled to highlight, celebrate, and help move forward the work being done all across the country in large and small districts, by tenacious, dedicated, talented school nutrition professionals at the 2014 Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids National Leadership Summit. You truly are rock stars.