LiveWell’s School Food Initiative Chefs Stir Up Excitement at CSNA’s 2017 Conference in Denver

LiveWell’s School Food Initiative (SFI) chef consultants were in action again at the Colorado School Nutrition Association’s (CSNA) annual summer conference held at the Colorado Convention Center on Tuesday, June 13.

The SFI team had a strong presence throughout the conference. Partnering with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), the chefs presented an exciting and easy-to-follow session on recipe scaling, aptly named Scaling Up, Down, and All Around. They also supported CDE‘s Menu Costing session, where they showcased two scratch-made breakfast items (Craisy Pumpkin Bars and Chewy Granola Bars) and helped calculate the cost of including these healthy items in the school breakfast program. Later in the exhibit hall, the School Food Initiative chef consultants took the stage for a demonstration on the use of special kitchen equipment that makes food production highly efficient, especially for breaking down fresh produce.

“The techniques showcased to the CSNA attendees are the same practices we use around the state, working with school districts to increase their scratch cooking efforts,” says LiveWell School Food Initiative Chef Sally Ayotte.

In addition to providing valuable, useful knowledge and information for school nutrition professionals, the chefs brought the same energy and enthusiasm to the conference that they exhibit in their important but difficult work in school districts day after day and year after year. “Of all the CSNA sessions I attended, SFI’s Scaling Up, Down, and All Around session with CDE was the most well-attended with the highest energy and audience engagement,” says Janessa Nelsen, Program Coordinator for LiveWell’s School Food Initiative.

LiveWell’s policy coordinator Charlie Severance-Medaris attended the conference for the first time this year and was thoroughly impressed with seeing the chefs in action. “We’re always hearing from partners how engaging the chefs are during their trainings, so it was really motivating to finally see how well they engage with chefs and food service professionals and how eager the food service folks were to learn and interact with our chefs.”

It’s clear these chefs love what they do and have a passion for using their time and talents to affect change and have a lasting impact on the health of Colorado kids.