Harvest Day at Fox Hollow Elementary
On May 31st 2016, Harvest Day, at Fox Hollow Elementary School in Port Richey Chef Vince Blancato and Chef Ray Benton did a tasting of all the vegetables that were grown in the school garden. They also made smoothies for all the children. These 2nd graders took home a lot of healthy vegetables for the family!
Chefs Ray Benton, CEC HAAC and Vince Blancato has helped 5 Pasco County schools achieve the Bronze level award in The Healthier US School Challenge
3rd Graders at Gulfside Elementary School
November 12, 2015
On Nov. 12 Chef Ray Benton CEC, HAAC and Vince Blancato presented what pollutants do to our aquifer to the 3rd grade students at Northwest Elementary School, Hudson FL. Before the children “built” their edible aquifer (picture 1) it was explained to them that water moves through our environment in a process known as the Hydrologic Cycle. This cycle begins when the sun’s energy warm water bodies on the earth’s surface. This leads to evaporation by which water changes from liquid to vapor. The heat of the sun also causes plants to release water in a process called transpiration. Then comes condensation – this vapor rise and forms clouds. When the clouds get to heavy with these tiny water droplets then comes precipitation. When the water falls to earth some of it flows as runoff into the Gulf, rivers and lakes while some of it is absorbed in the ground thru percolation and stored in the aquifer. The aquifer is a spongelike underground layer of limestone and/or rocks that can hold and release water. In the second picture we demonstrated to the children what happens to the pollutants that we put on the ground – it goes into our aquifer.
October 13, 2015
On Tuesday, October 13, 3rd Graders at Gulfside Elementary School, Holiday FL, harvested the sweet potato the last semester’s 3rd Graders planted in May before their summer vacation.
This vegetable is sponsored by the ACF Tampa Bay Chapter and has been a 3rd Grade project for the last 4 years. One week the 3rd Graders are out in their garden making observations and maintaining the garden and the following week they are in class with ACF Tampa Bay member Vince Blancato leading them in nutrition lessons and encouraging them to make healthy food choices.
October 16, 2015
On Friday Oct. 16, 2015 the ACF Tampa Bay Chapter celebrated Childhood Nutrition Day with the 4 3rd Grade Classes at Northwest Elementary School, Hudson FL.
Chapter member Chef Vince Blancato sampled the children different colored fruit and vegetables that are growing in the school’s vegetable garden appropriately named The Wellness Garden. ACF Tampa Bay members started this garden 5 years ago under Mrs. Obama’s Chef’s Move to Schools Initiative. Every school year it becomes a 3rd Grade Project. One week the children are out in their garden planting seeds, making written observations on how their garden is progressing, sampling the fruits and vegetables right off their plants and finally in Dec. and May they harvest their crop. The following week ACF Tampa Bay members are in the 3rd Grade Classrooms giving them Nutrition Lessons approved by USDA and/or the Florida Dept. of Agriculture. This program continues weekly for the entire school year.
To celebrate 2015 Childhood Nutrition Day, Chapter ACF Tampa Bay Member Chef Vince Blancato sampled the 3rd Grade students fruits and vegetables from the 5 Food Color Groups. The nutrition values of each item was explained to the students and then each student was required to write a sentence containing adjectives on their taste experience for each item.
ACF Tampa Bay Chefs are active in the Chefs Move to Schools Program
The Chefs Move to Schools program, founded in May 2010, is an integral part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative. The goal of this program is help battle the childhood obesity epidemic that is within this generation. The program pairs ACF Chefs with schools in their communities with the mission of collaboratively educating kids about food and proper nutrition. ACF Tampa Bay Chefs use their culinary creativity and knowledge to engage students through cooking demonstrations, school gardens, in-class instructions and other activities that focus on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, proteins and the importance of a balanced diet. Our Chefs partner with employees who work in K-12 school meal operations, administrators and teachers to help improve the way children interact with food, from the cafeteria to the classroom.
Every year the VFW Post #10167 opens up their Post Home for this annual Jr. ROTC Fund raiser. The Cadets decorate the Banquet Hall (Decorating Platoon), cook the food under my supervision (Kitchen Platoon) and serve their guests (Service Platoon). This year they prepared a 4 course Italian Dinner – Antipasto, Salad, Manicotti and Sausage and House-Made Cannoli. Fresh baked Cheesy Bread Sticks were served to all.
Chef Vince Blancato and “Sous Chef Remy” teaching a third grade class at Gulfside Elementary School, Holiday FL about the good and Bad things in the foods they eat on Thursday, Feb. 5.
The 3rd Graders harvested some of their vegetables at Gulfside Elementary School in Holiday FL. Santa’s helper, Chef Vince cleaned and cut up their bounty for a healthy afternoon snack.
It is a picture of Gulfside Elementary School, Holiday FL, receiving their Bronze Award from USDA for being a Healthier School. Each week I give a nutrition lesson to the 3rd Graders and assist them in maintaining their vegetable garden. This program is Mrs. Obama’s Chefs Move to Schools.
In the picture is Kurt Browning, Pasco Co. Superintendent of Schools, Chris Clayton, Principal of Gulfside Elementary School, Vince Blancato and Allison Cumbley, Pasco Co. School Board Member.
This picture is the second part of the picture that Chef Vince Blancato.
It was from the “annual awards night” for Pasco County schools and many people were recognized for various things like essay contest winners, volunteer gardeners and people that make a difference in our community.
The people in this picture are from left to right: Superintendent of Pasco County schools Kurt Browning, Fox Hollow assistant principal Karyn Kinzie, Fox Hollow Elem. school principal Dawn Scilex, master gardeners Bob and Carla O’Brien, Chef Ray Benton and Alison Crumbley, school board member.
Vince and I have 4 schools in Pasco County that we watch over the gardens and help the children taste what they grow. WE are partnered with the University of Florida Extension Program and the staff of Betsy Crisp who go into the schools and teach K-4th grade students about eating better, the my plate lesson, hand washing and this becomes a win-win situation because the children take home what they have learned to their parents and siblings. The garden has been a blessing for the children who now have learned a life-long lesson on how to grow their own food. No longer is the answer that we get our food from Publix, now they are farmers also. We have accomplished one of our goals at one of the gardens and that is to feed the whole school with what they harvested. We harvested enough sweet potatoes to feed 500 children sweet potatoes fries one day at Gulfside elementary in Holiday, Florida.
Chef Ray Benton, CCE, HAAC
These pictures shows the dinner that the children in the All Children’s Hospital Fit4Allkids Program made for their parents and teachers and Dieticians under the supervision of Chef Ray Benton CEC, HACC, Chef Chuck Edmond and myself. The children made White Chicken Chili, Awesome Beef Chili, Corn, Mango and Jicama Salsa, and Salsa Verde and a delicious Sautéed Apple Cobbler for dessert. This event took place at the Holiday Recreation Center the evening of Oct. 20, 8 children were in the kitchen preparing this dinner. The Fit4Allkids Program is a Family Wellness Program for families with obese children.
On Sept. 18, Chef Ray Benton CEC, HACC and Vince Blancato assisted the 2nd and 3rd Grade students at Gulfside Elementary School, Holiday FL, in harvesting the sweet potatoes from their respective Gardens. These gardens are sponsored by the ACF Tampa Bay Chefs Association under the Chef & Child Foundation and Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative. Video
The sweet potatoes’ were then brought into the school’s kitchen and Chef Ray and Vince prepared Sweet Potato Fries which were served to all students for lunch.
Chef Vince Blancato
On July 28 Boars Head hosted our Chapters tri-annual All Children’s Hospital, Pasco Co. Clinic, Fit4Allkids Program Dinner. The Fit4Allkids program is a Family Wellness Program for families of overweight children. On the seventh week of this 8 week program the children cook a dinner for their families, Instructors/Dieticians and Physicians. Chefs Ray Benton, Vince Blancato and Laura Johnson assisted the children in preparing Chicken Taco’s and Chicken Wraps. For dessert the children cleaned and prepared was a cornucopia of fresh fruits.
Pictures from the last harvest of the year from our 2 schools in Pasco County. Chef Vince and myself peeled and chopped so the children could taste the vegetables that they picked, and the local master gardeners did the harvest with the children and their parents. All were amazed at the volume and size of their crop this year. We picked carrots, radishes, cucumbers and zucchini, and I made fresh cole slaw in front of the children with a 10-lb cabbage from the garden. The hot dogs were also well received but were not grown in the garden. The children of these schools have had fun in their gardens and they have learned a life-long lesson on how to grow their own food. Thank you to all who participated in this successful event, including the children, the teachers, the master gardeners and the principals of the schools who are all for this program.
Chef Ray Benton, CCE, HAAC
Chefs Move & Children Learn
For several years Chef Vince Blancato and Chef Ray Benton have been visiting Gulfside Elementary School and Northwest Elementary School in Pasco County teaching students there about healthy eating. Once a week the chefs take their knowledge and love of food and transfer it to the young eager minds. One week the chefs have the children out in the garden planting, watering, fertilizing and harvesting their crops. At harvest time each student is able to take fresh vegetables home; carrots, bibb lettuce, radishes, potatoes, cauliflower and cabbage. The weeks they are not in the garden, they are in the classroom learning what foods are good for their bodies and what is not. Chef Vince and Chef Ray encourage the students to make good choices for a healthier lifestyle. This is a great video (Click Here) of the chefs and children learning together! If you are interested in learning how you can get involved in this life changing program contact Chef Vince firstname.lastname@example.org or Chef Ray Salesbound@aol.com.
November Chef Night
Another great night with the kids in the kitchen! This program is so important and teaches the children skills and educates them and their families on healthy eating. They were glowing as they worked with you all in the kitchen to prepare a healthy dinner for their family. I think this is something every parent needs to see first-hand.
Thank you Chefs Paul Mullino, Chuck Edmonds and Ray Benton for coming out and helping make the evening such a big success for the children.
Chef Vince Blancato
July Chef Night
The All Children’s Hospital Fit4Allkids Program is a family wellness program targeting weight management as well as nutrition and culinary education. Knowing how to keep children and families healthy and active is so important, especially with childhood obesity rates at an all-time high. That’s why All Children’s Hospital has teamed up with the ACF Tampa Bay Chapter and has made a commitment to helping families raise a healthier generation.