No Kid Hungry Celebrates Its First Anniversary With Food Network

by in Events, November 22nd, 2011

jeff bridges, brooke johnson, billy shore
With Thanksgiving and the holidays right around the corner, it’s important to remember to donate to those in need, especially children.

Last week, Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign celebrated its one year anniversary with Food Network and campaign spokesperson Jeff Bridges. The No Kid Hungry Pledge is a daunting task, but with a committed army of supporters, Share Our Strength is confronting childhood hunger head-on with a goal of ending it by 2015.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to work with Share Our Strength. They do such incredible work and they inspire us as a company to try and be better. We’re excited to use the power of Food Network to help them raise awareness on this issue — our employees are excited, our chefs are excited,” said Brooke Johnson, President of Food Network.

During the celebration, guests also got a sneak peek of a documentary Food Network is producing around the issue of childhood hunger in America, which will release in 2012.

Billy Shore, founder and chief executive officer of Share Our Strength added, “We have hundreds of partners, but only one media partner. Food Network has helped us spread the word about childhood hunger in a way we never could.”

Want to help? Get involved now by donating to the cause — all donations matched through December 31.

anne burrell, alex guarnaschelli, amanda freitag jeff bridges

Also in attendance at the Share Our Strength celebration were Chopped judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy, Amanda Freitag and host Ted Allen. They’re using the power of TV to spread the word about childhood healthy eating by airing a special episode of Chopped called: Class Act, airing tonight at 10pm/9c.

Tonight, four school cafeteria chefs compete to raise awareness about such an important issue. “This episode is a win-win for Food Network. The show’s made better by the topic and it’s an opportunity to get the message out there: Child nutrition is needed in schools,” said Brooke Johnson.

We also caught up with judge Marc Murphy: “I don’t like to call them lunch ladies, I like to call them school chefs. This episode is incredibly moving, most of the cameramen and crew were in tears the entire time, watching these ladies, their energy, enthusiasm and beauty comes out.” When I asked him whether or not this would be his favorite Chopped episode, he said, “Hands down — until we do another one that’s just as important.”

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Comments (51)

  1. Brock says:

    I really liked the School Chef show. It was quite different to see a show where noone's ego was front and center.

  2. Ginger says:

    Awesome chopped with lunch room chefs, I cried with u. It’s sad we have straving children n this rich world, people r to materialistic, shallow, and down right nasty. Thanks food network for reaching out to the children. GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

  3. Jackie says:

    Thank you, Food Network!! I, too, thought that last night's CHOPPED was great.
    Those 4 women re to be commended for their contribution to the lives of the
    children they come in contact with. Congratulations to Cheryl!!

  4. Nel Bockelman says:

    Thank you Food Network for the The Chopped episode featuring the School Chefs. Every show is always a nail-biting sensation, but today you had me in tears. I have never been more proud of these women as well as all of the men and women who "serve and feed" our children. What a great cause. You have me on board. I will check my locality to see how I can be of service to help further this cause.

  5. Arnold Stang says:

    Everybody seems to be so entranced by the idea of feeding schoolchildren that they are ignoring how awful and unhealthy the dishes were on this episode. Let me see if I understand this. Neither of the two finalists had even heard of quinoa — and they're trying to create healthy food on a budget? Appalling. Both chefs are obese. One has a husband who needs gastric bypass surgery. She designs lunches for a living? The other, the winner, adds mascarpone to almost every dish and her idea of a "snack" for her daughter (the inspiration for her dessert), is a sweet fried white bread sandwich with butter and chocolate. "Portion control" is also obviously an alien concept to them judging from the size of their main courses. How clueless can a lunch lady be? Despite all the congratulation and self-congratulation, both of these women are the Typhoid Marys of the current obesity epidemic. The only chef who made anything really healthy on the show was the first one voted off. (Ok, so it probably tasted awful, but at least it wouldn't cause anyone to die prematurely.) Yes, there are hungry kids in America, but a plate piled to the rafters with high-calorie, artery-clogging food is not the answer. The combination of bad food and smarmy praise for these nincompoops made me ill. Not only not the best Chopped episode but one of the worst ever.

    • Nel Bockelman says:

      Hence the reason the CIA offered up a week of free classes to help further their education. Relax a little.

    • jeri says:

      I think you missed the point. Personal life has nothing much to do with what they do in the school cafeteria! It is very difficult to come up with school menus that kids will eat, are healthy, stay in budget, and comply with outreagous federal regulations. And don't forget, schools aren't privy to the same ingredients as Chopped chefs.

      • Arnold Stang says:

        You don't have to be rich or privy to an inner circle to know about quinoa and other healthy ingredients. Someone cooking cheaply for lots of people should know about stuff like that. Anyone shopping for food near a major city should have encountered them. And I don't think personal life is irrelevant. If you're killing yourself and your own family with bad cuisine, that may predict how you cook for others. Look at their dishes. The judges, especially the White House Adviser, should have been more candid. Was this episode supposed to be about healthy cooking or the struggles of well-meaning but incompetent lunch ladies? Seems like it almost canonized people who, though trying hard, are not doing a very good job. Could have been a teachable moment.

        • jeri says:

          It was a chopped contest between 4 school cafeteria cooks. I could have been a teachable moment, but it wasn't, it was a chopped episode focusing on school cafeteria cooks, not chefs. They can't cook school lunches the way they cook at home for the reason I mentioned. It shur would be nice if they could cook good, healthy meals, but it ain't gonna happen any time soon, especially in CA!!!!

        • jeri says:

          Sorry about the spelling and grammar errors, having glitches with keyboard and program!

        • jeri says:

          I know you don't have to be rich or privy. I was just pointing out the cooks had to create from the chopped baskets, that are notorious for having ingredients that don't normally go together! Cooking a school menu is WAY different. You have to cook the meals from what the head of dietary plans and that are within the Federal guidelines dictate, remember the fed said catsup is a vegetable!!! That's all I was saying. Yes, we have an obesity problem and a hunger problem. Yes, we make bad food choices. And yes, the general populous is addicted to fast foo. Eating that stuff 3x a day is going to make you fat. It was a chopped episode featuring school cafeteria cooks, giving them an opportunity in a competition the happened to benefit their schools. I don't think it was intended to make the viewer think "omg, this is how they cook at school!". O.K, that's all I have to say, thanks for the opportunity. Happy posting!

    • phyllis Tripp says:

      I am a great fan of Chopped and I have to say that I loved this the school chefs show the most. The above person has no doubt never tried to entice kids to eat. The beggars purses to go with the story was so creative. I hope that you will put on more of these shows that not only touch the stomach but touch the heart. Feeding kids healthy food in America is hard because we all love our fast food and processed food. Shame on us not on the chefs who are working in the schools and trying to change things bite by bite.

    • nicole says:

      I am shocked at how quick people are to judge others without having lived with open eyes. The balance between obesity and starvation is a massive battle. None of these ladies declared that they would serve this in their cafeteria's, they simply don't have the budget to use real butter, milk, fresh not over ripe fruite, marscepone cheese, or quinoa. However if there are critics out there then take healthy choices and fresh fruit to your local school cafeteria and make a donation, the school will never say no. Don't criticize until you've exercised your opportunity to make a difference. And if you still don't understand you try choosing between feeding some of the hungry children healthy food choices or ALL of the children food. personally i'd rather feed all the children something than choose some of the children and leave others to starve. Food health doesnt mean a thing if you are chosen to die of starvation. Can you make the choice?

  6. Susan says:

    The "Class Act" episode of Chopped was one of the best episodes I've seen. These women and all Cafeteria Chefs need to be commended for the work they do. These women competed with love and integrity. I couldn't believe I was crying over a Chopped episode. The love and compassion the chefs have for their school children showed throughout the whole show. I cannot commend them enough for their hard work and little pay…God Bless them! Thank you Chopped for a superb show that really opened my eyes!

  7. Inez steele says:

    The class act episode …was the best…could not wait to watch again with my hubby…you must do more shows with the school chiefs….love love loved it

  8. Betty B. says:

    The Lunch Ladies were terrific! We need more episodes like this – but without a negative judge who is so centered on the nutritional value that he is blind to what children will and won't eat. These women did a FANTASTIC job! And they really seemed to care about the children. Kudos to them and to the Food Network for having them on Chopped!

    • gail denham says:

      Couldnt' agree more – the judges were so encouraging to these ladies. MORE SHOWS LIKE THIS – where "humble" folk take part – not those fancy NY chefs who think they're the cat's pajamas (whatever that means)

  9. pat says:

    This episode was great showing what school chefs can do. Unfortunately most school districts no longer have lunchs made from scratch . The lunchs are all shipped in prepackaged and served. So to say this is the norm is not true. Also what the school chefs served was not something most children
    would eat. At least not the kids I cooked for.

  10. jeri says:

    An open post that has nothing to do with any show: Making final prep for dinner tomorrow (that has grown from 5 to 12 guests) and just wanted to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving. Be thankful for what you have, I am.

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