“During these uncertain times, we must boost our immune systems and teach both children and adults of the benefits of healthy food, which will help in the long run to fight off any future illnesses,” said Vanessa Marquis, Chairman of the International Chefs Day Committee.
“We have a duty to prepare chefs worldwide to educate and prepare children for a healthier life through other means if they can’t in person – not even letting a pandemic get in the way,” she added.
This call to action comes as Nestlé Professional and the World Association of Chefs Societies (Worldchefs), who teamed up in 2014, join forces again on October 20, 2020 for International Chefs Day to teach children across the globe about the importance of healthy eating through organized fun-filled workshops worldwide.
Healthy Food for the Future
This year’s theme is Healthy Food for the Future, which focuses on ensuring a healthy planet for future generations, while aiming to teach children about what impact food production and consumption has on the environment.
As part of the workshops, a toolkit has been prepared to encourage children to turn everyday recipes into appetizing food that is enjoyable to make and nutritious. It contains instructions, materials, social media tips and healthy recipes created by professional chefs.
In 2019, over 69 000 children and more than 1800 chefs took part in the annual event, doubling from the year before.
Impact of good food
With plant-based diets on the rise, Vanessa explained why now is the time to encourage children to eat and cook more plant-based foods and recipes, giving them easy access to fruits and vegetables they may not have tried before.
“Their immune systems are still developing and getting the right nutrients and vitamins through a proper diet will help them in the future,” she explained. “This year’s International Chefs Day will help children see and taste delicious recipes that are more geared towards plant-based diets.”
Growing up in a family which worked for large produce companies, fresh vegetables were always on hand at her childhood home, with her mother regularly cooking homemade meals.
Good food made a significant impact on Vanessa and she joined culinary school after leaving a career in banking, working her way up the ranks to become an Executive Chef. She said: “As a female chef, there were many times I felt I must work harder than others to get there, but I simply worked with my head down knowing I am equal to anyone else in the kitchen.
“I continue to give it my all for Worldchefs and ‘Prepare Children for a Healthy Life’,” she added.
Value of bringing knowledge to children
Emmanuel Lorieux, Executive Chef for Nestlé Professional, also stresses the value in teaching children to eat well, choose good products and instill healthy eating habits.
Having grown up next to a restaurant in Normandy, France, he was surrounded by the sights and smells of nutritious, homemade meals. With his aspiration to travel, this also steered his career and he completed his apprenticeship at a 1-star Michelin restaurant before working as a chef in the French Army, and with Le Méridien Hotels in Paris, Abu Dhabi, Tokyo, Bora Bora, and San Diego.
“When I was younger, my mother bought fresh food in the market and cooked it at home. But these days, parents don’t have much time as they are both working, so it’s quite often easier to cook frozen meals,” said Emmanuel.
“It’s very important to bring knowledge to youngsters in the classroom, focusing on ingredients that are good for the planet and sustainability. For this year’s event, we have recipes that are full of fresh vegetables and homegrown ingredients.
“We work well with Worldchefs to develop materials and collaborate with member chefs to create these healthy recipes – we believe we can all make a difference to children from all backgrounds,” he added.
About Nestlé Professional
Nestlé Professional is passionate about serving the out-of-home industry, using its global experience and know-how to help accelerate the businesses of its foodservice and hospitality industry partners. Via its leading brands and products, Nestlé Professional shares its solutions and innovations to help customers and operators make more possible as they serve and delight their clients and consumers.
For information about International Chef Day and to receive a copy of the Virtual Event Toolkit, please contact: [email protected]
The World Association of Chefs' Societies – Worldchefs - is a non-political professional organization, dedicated to maintaining and improving the culinary standards of global cuisines. It accomplishes these goals through education, training and professional development of its members. As an authority and opinion leader on food, Worldchefs represents a global voice on all issues related to the culinary profession.
Since its creation by Chef Dr. Bill Gallagher in 2004, Worldchefs has committed to using International Chefs Day to celebrate the profession and to transfer culinary knowledge and skills with a sense of pride and commitment to the future.
For information about International Chef Day contact: [email protected]