Changing the Future of School Food: Rafael Ruiz, Student Chef

May 20, 2009 | Written By:


Our friends and allies who attended HSC’s May 5 briefing on the future of school food are all sure to mention one thing: Rafael was amazing! Rafael Ruiz, a high school student chef who helped create the school meal served around the country and in the US House of Representatives, shared his thoughts about school lunch at the briefing. Rafael’s comments highlight the role of healthy school food in the lives of students, whose health is affected so directly by policies – such as the Child Nutrition Act – that set guidelines and allocate resources for food served at school.

First of all, thank you so much for inviting us here today. I think I speak for all of my teammates when I say we are very, very excited to be here with you today in Washington DC. When we created this recipe, we never dreamed that we would be able to share it with so many people. It was challenging for us to create a meal that met the nutrition and budget requirements, but we did it together and we learned how good healthy food can be. The best part about cooking is seeing the look on other people’s faces when they taste your meal and enjoy it. I wish I could see the look on the faces of all the students who will be eating this meal today – it’s really good, so I know they’re going to love it! And when they eat it, they’re also going to see that healthy food can be the most delicious. I hope you enjoy the meal today too, and help make it possible for us and our classmates to eat good, healthy food like this every day at school.   

This briefing is part of HSC’s efforts to change the future of school food by speaking up for a strong, well-funded reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.

After bringing Rafael, his classmates, CPS food service director Louise Esaian, Illinois State Board of Education chair Jesse Ruiz and others to DC for this event, we’re meeting next week in Chicago with national leaders – including Janey Thornton, Ph.D., SNS, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition & Consumer Services at the USDA – about school food and the particular challenges facing large urban districts. We’ll keep you posted as this campaign moves ahead. You can join the movement by sending a letter in support of healthy school meals and an adequately funded reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.

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