Paul O’Toole, Executive Chef of Deerfield Golf Club in Newark, Del., created healthy sandwiches and entrees during the week to support the first annual “Love Your Veggies” Lunch Break for Schools fundraising event.
Paul O’Toole, CEC/AAC, Executive Chef of Deerfield Golf Club in Newark, Del., and Chief Culinary Officer of Forewinds Hospitality, participated in the first annual “Love Your Veggies” Lunch Break for Schools fundraising event that took place during the week of February 27-March 2 in cities across the U.S.
The effort, led by the makers of Hidden Valley® Salad Dressings, raised funds to support the American Culinary Foundation’s (ACF) involvement in the Chefs Move To Schools campaign. This program, inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity, promotes healthy eating habits and proper nutrition to school children across the country (Chef O’Toole was one of 50 ACF chefs invited to the White House last June to kick off the Chefs Move to Schools initiative).
“Our nation’s chefs have tremendous power as leaders on this issue, because of their deep knowledge of food and nutrition and their standing in the community,” Mrs. Obama has said in supporting ACF-member chefs’ involvement.
“This is just one more way that Deerfield can make a positive contribution in the community we serve,” said Chef O’Toole in describing his involvement with the “Love Your Veggies” initiative. “For a year now, I have been working closely with the teachers, administrators and students at Wilmington [Del.]’s Urban Promise School. We’ve done all kinds of cooking classes, demonstrations and tastings that inform the students of just how easy making healthy, affordable and flavorful foods can be. This is just taking that initiative to a new level.”
Deerfield GC supported the “Love Your Veggies” Lunch Break for Schools campaign by selling healthy sandwiches and entrees during the week that Chef Paul created, with a portion of the proceeds from their sale of these directed to the program’s fundraising goal.
“Chef Paul’s commitment to this program has been phenomenal,” noted Steve Furman, Deerfield’s General Manager. “We have received great feedback from parents, principals and community residents who see how much time and effort he continues to pour into the Chefs Move To Schools campaign. This program is exciting because it brings the energy and creativity right here to Deerfield’s restaurant, allowing our guests to see first-hand some of what Chef Paul has been doing to make a difference.”
During his monthly visits to Wilmington’s Urban Promise School, which has students from pre-kindergarten through seventh grade, Chef O’Toole, along with his 17-year-old daughter, Julie, conducts interactive conversations with the children about the origins of fruits, vegetables, meat and fish, and chats about the effects that the sugar and starches that various foods contain can have on body performance. He demonstrates the effects of hot and cold temperatures on foods, mixes in a little physics, and then everyone gets to make and taste foods that can be created at home.
“The kids just eat this up, so to speak,” says O’Toole. “They are wide-eyed discoverers and show joy in learning that is inspirational and motivating.”
Catherine Dolan, Head of School at Urban Promise, says the children are captivated with Chef O’Toole and his ideas. “Parents tell me the kids are beginning to suggest healthier selections while grocery shopping, which means Chef Paul’s influence goes beyond the classroom,” Dolan notes. “We are fortunate to have his commitment to our school community.”