Community Relations Spotlight: Chatham County Chef Challenge

By Posted in - Clairemont Client News & In Our Community on April 12th, 2011

One of the things I love the most about Clairemont is that we get to work with such smart, creative and community-focused people! Our clients at Briar Chapel are absolute pros at community support and involvement. The key? A philanthropic mindset from the top — Bob McCleod, CEO of parent company Newland Communities, has a long history of humanitarian efforts — coupled with people throughout the company who have a personal passion for making a difference.

The Chatham County Chef Challenge is the perfect example. Passionate about health and wellness, education and the environment, the Briar Chapel team partnered with the Abundance Foundation to conceptualize the Chatham County Chef Challenge. Designed to increase fresh vegetables and fruits in the student lunches, educate the students and parents on the importance of a healthy lunch and increase participation in the school lunch program, the initiative was an easy sell to local celebrity chefs who are familiar with types of events and organizations Briar Chapel commonly supports.

An important part of the program was a training session where our celebrity chefs worked with the school cafeteria staffs to show them how to make their special dishes using ingredients available to the school lunchrooms. Below is a brief snippet of a Briar Chapel blog post on the training day, and to meet the chefs and sample their dishes that will become regular Chatham County school cafeteria menus, come out to Briar Chapel’s Earth Day event Saturday.

Summarized from the Briar Chapel blog…

After spending weeks creating the dishes, our chefs gathered last week to teach the 17 Chatham County School Cafeteria lunch managers the recipes. The managers went back to their kitchens and cook these dishes this week for all of the county school children.

The managers are of course the experts in feeding hundreds of children in a short period of time. They know what kids will and will not eat. Participating chefs included Chef Colin Bedford of Fearrington House, Chef Kelly Taylor and Chef Gregg Hamm of the Natural Chef Culinary Program at Central Carolina Community College (the first of it’s kind in the country) and Chef Jimmy Reale of Crossroads Restaurant located in the historical and beautiful Carolina Inn.

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