Bringing Chefs Into the Schools

When it comes to food, the Washington Ideas Forum might not quite be the Atlantic Food Summit, but food is making a prominent appearance at this year's event, a partnership between The Atlantic and The Aspen Institute that "brings together top politicians, policymakers, and business leaders for conversations with America's leading journalists."

This afternoon's star-studded roster of interviews will feature the likes of Michael Bloomberg, David Axelrod, and Tim Geithner—but it began with a conversation between the Food Channel's own Corby Kummer and two leading voices in the White House's fight to promote health and do away with obesity: health-policy adviser (and Food Channel contributor) Zeke Emanuel, of the Office of Management and Budget, and White House chef Sam Kass, Michelle Obama's food-policy right-hand man and a key player in her effort to combat childhood obesity through the Let's Move Initiative.

Washington Ideas Forum Kass told the audience that chefs should work directly with schools in order to improve the menus—but acknowledged it won't be easy. "Chefs need to know more about how our schools operate ... Schools are big, autonomous places," he said. The chefs, he added, need to learn how to work with teachers and administrators: "Improving school lunches starts with the chefs."



Emanuel noted two barriers to improving the quality of school lunches. "A lot of schools don't have kitchens anymore," he said. "The other, of course, is money.... How much money you can spend on a meal is one of the biggest challenges."

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Daniel Fromson, a former associate editor at The Atlantic, is a writer based in Washington, D.C. He writes regularly for The Washington Post. His work has also appeared in Harper's Magazine, New York, and Slate.

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