Chuck Kennedy/White House
There's been a ton of back-and-forth about "changing school food" lately, but I'm noticing a huge ramp-up since Michelle Obama and Sam Kass expanded their childhood obesity strategy to include chefs moving to schools (the "Chefs Move to Schools" program). A few weeks ago, under the leadership of the First Lady, Sam and his capable White House kitchen staff worked intensely to host more than 800 chefs at the White House to rally over what has become one of this decade's hottest subjects—school food. It was quite a sight: white coats spread across the South Lawn at the White House in such numbers that they couldn't fit into one photograph.
I was one of those chefs, and I have to say that, other than wondering who the heck was cooking for the rest of America that night, I was floored to see so many chefs in one place and at one time. And not just so many chefs, but so many chefs from so many different segments of American food service. It's pretty common to see such high-profile events attract big names from the exclusive group of America's "top chefs." Many of these culinary powerhouses were certainly there. But to literally see a handful of food celebrities dwarfed in number by hundreds of chefs of much humbler status was a pretty powerful thing to behold. This example of professional diversity was a striking and impressive thing for the White House to pull off.