Creating Magic for Students: Q+A with Leslie Fowler

October 01, 2014 | Written By:

Leslie Fowler, Director of Nutritional Support Services at Chicago Public Schools

Cooking up Change Chicago is just around the corner! In preparation, we’re speaking with some of the invaluable leaders who make this program happen every year. Today, we’re featuring Leslie Fowler, Director of Nutritional Support Services at Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Under her leadership, CPS serves 75 million meals to 400,000 students each year.

1) Why is Cooking up Change important, especially this year?

It’s where what we do in the academic realm meets what we do from a nutrition, health and wellness standpoint. It connects the two and brings it full circle. Students aren’t just learning how to cook in the classroom, they’re understanding about nutrition, health and wellness, and the importance of driving that.

2) Why do you support Cooking up Change?

I support it because it’s about kids. It exposes students to the difficulty of trying to inform and create magic for the palate while having to understand regulations and policies.

3) How has being involved with Cooking up Change impacted your role at CPS?

Cooking up Change makes us much more mindful about the fact that our kids do have a high-level palate; they’re looking for flavor. And it’s an opportunity for them to inform the menu. The kids are looking for flavor at the end of the day.

4) What do you love about Cooking up Change?

I love being a judge; I love seeing the kids perform. I think that type of exposure will go a long way for the rest of their lives. I love seeing them grow, from being not quite sure of what they’re doing to being confident with their end product.

5) How do Cooking up Change students inspire you?

They remind me why I do what I do.

6) Cooking up Change is…

Cooking up Change is something that creates magic for students, which they can take with them for the rest of their lives.


Thank you, Leslie, for your ongoing support and for sharing your thoughts with us!

Did you know that you can meet Chicago’s student chefs and be part of the action at Cooking up Change Chicago on Thursday, October 30? Click here to purchase tickets or to make a donation.

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