Interact for Health

Cook for America prompts cafeteria manager to further improve students’ nutrition

(Aug 1st, 2016)

During the past three years, 86 lunch teachers from 40 schools in eight districts have been trained to cook from scratch through Cook for America. The program, supported by Interact for Health, is a way to increase access to healthier foods for students in our community. It includes a five-day Lunch Teachers® Culinary Boot Camp. The Lunch Teachers learn all the basics needed to serve healthier, better-tasting scratch-cooked meals within their current food system and budget.

For some Lunch Teachers, the program is just the beginning of change. After she participated in the 2014 Culinary Boot Camp, Ruthann Scarlatella, cafeteria manager of Milford High School, was motivated to do more than just change her school’s food. She successfully ran for vice president of Chapter 31 of the School Nutrition Association of Ohio. The group works to improve students’ access to healthful school meals and nutrition education. In a recent note to Interact for Health Program Officer Jaime Love, she also attributes her Boot Camp experience to her daily inspiration and dedication to both serving and educating kids about healthy foods:

“I just wanted to THANK-YOU for making Boot Camp possible. I graduated from Boot Camp in 2014 in Norwood and I have thought about it every day. It has been such a positive experience for me, and Chef Kate has inspired me in a lot of ways. I manage the Milford High kitchen and we use what we learned each and every day. … I think what you do has such an impact on our students’ lives and educates us so we can teach them to eat and live healthier and (teach them about) what society is doing to our foods. So I just wanted to thank you again and if you ever have any other programs that we could attend please consider me and Milford Schools.”