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Boys Town North Florida Starts a Master Chef Health Initiative

Young Chef

This summer, Boys Town North Florida started a "Master Chef School" as part of the site's health initiative.
Lasting six weeks, one child from each of the five residential homes will be designated each week to prepare recipes with help from local chefs. During their assigned week, a chef will teach the child the ways around the kitchen and how to prepare a nutritious meal for their residential home family.

The health initiative was started by Dena Strickland, Boys Town North Florida Development Director, and several Boys Town friends including: Ken Cashin, Lisa Chase, Lori Vezina, Chef Paula Kendrick of Fresh for Florida Kids, Board member Monesia Brown and others who wished to make a difference in the overall health of children in care. The group decided to initially focus on healthy meals that were not only easy to prepare, but very tasty and later expand the initiative to include healthy living in every aspect!

Teaching Food Prep

The first five campus children were selected to kick off the first class of the summer, led by Chef Paula with Lori Vezina as her sous chef. The campus "Master Chefs" made cumin and rosemary roasted chicken thighs with vegetables, spring mix organic salad with pecans, feta and homemade balsamic vinaigrette, fresh fruit and bread. Past Governor's chef and owner of Minas Hospitality, John Minas, also assisted in the kick off and will be leading the second "Master Chef School".

DeliciousnessChef Paula Kendrick and Lori Vezina who were dinner guests of one of the Family Homes noted that dinnertime was a very important part of the family's day and were passionate to add a more nutritional component to the meals that the families make.

"It's important to help them create healthy habits that will maintain and stay with them for the rest of their life," said Paula, "It's a life skill that everyone needs."

Dena Strickland said the children loved the Master Chef School and were excited to see the final product of their hard work in the kitchen. 

Thanks to everyone for making this possible for the children and getting the campus involved in a wonderful health initiative that the children can take with them for the rest of their lives!​