Four hundred kids participate in cooking events across the Middle East

Four hundred kids participate in cooking events across the Middle East

Four hundred kids participate in cooking events across the Middle East

Nestlé Professional and Worldchefs, the World Association of Chefs Societies, teamed up around #InternationalChefsDay on October 20 to promote healthier eating for children all over the world, through cooking events held under the theme of How Healthy Food Works, in line with the Nestlé for Healthier Kids global ambition to help 50 million children live healthier lives by 2030.

Four Hundred kids learned about the health benefits of cooking, with specific focus this year on eight foods and their related attributes, at events held in Lebanon, Jordan, Dubai, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Tunisia.

“Our theme this year is How Healthy Food Works. We want to show how food affects our body internally, building on the themes of the last two years – Healthy Foods for Growing up and Healthy Foods for Heroes – and going into more depth on different foods and why our bodies need them,” said International Chefs Day Chair, Chef Joanna Ochniak.

The eight fruits and vegetables selected for emphasis as cooking ingredients to children this year are: Apples and Oranges for their vitamin C benefits that support developing immune systems; Bananas for their variety of vitamins and minerals that include manganese, magnesium and B-vitamins which are important for strong growth and development; Broccoli for its fiber which helps with digestion; Carrots and Spinach for their vitamin A which contributes to healthy vision; Cucumbers because they are 95% water which helps the body stay hydrated; and Mangos as a source of potassium which contributes to normal muscle function.

“We are very proud to be partnering with Worldchefs in bringing the message of healthy eating to children around the world,” said Roger Frei, Business Executive Officer at Nestlé Professional, Middle East & North Africa. “In collaboration with chefs, we aim to increase awareness of the important and increasingly vital role that cooking plays in providing healthier meals to children, helping them to eat better, firmly establishing healthy food habits and diets as they grow up.”

A recent evaluation of the impact of 2016 International Chefs Day children-geared cooking workshops confirmed their positive effect on children’s salad liking across a selection of countries worldwide.

Lebanon Event

The Maroun Chedid Cooking Academy in Beirut, in collaboration with The Lebanese Chef Club and Nestlé Professional, hosted the Lebanon event, which was attended by 50 kids from the Besancon Baabda School.

The participating chefs in Lebanon included Georges Debs (Ecole Hoteliere Tripoli), Tony Youssef (Citea Hotel), Hussein Abd El Sater (Future TV), Sleiman Khawand (Atelier Chef Sleiman), Fady Rweisaty (Ambar Saida) and Ibrahim Haddad (LAU).

Guest chefs participating in a different capacity included Abdallah Khodor (Le Bristol Hotel Beirut), Camille Wehbe (Fulcrum – LBACC sal), Georges Dakkak (Le Georges Catering), Kamil Bouloot (Ghia Holding), Joe Barza (Celebrity Chef), Michel Nader (Phoenicia Hotel), and Maroun Chedid (Ritage).

The event, which featured three different master classes and roundtable discussions with chefs, aimed at helping children make more informed decisions about the diet they choose for themselves and eventually their own children.

Cooking is part of our everyday life, and is deeply ingrained in our history and culture,” said Chedid. “That is why children need to learn how to select the best ingredients, and better understand their components and nutritional importance. This is more crucial than ever with the alarming proliferation of unhealthy food in our society.”

“As a young dynamic brand, we constantly strive to rejuvenate ourselves by engaging the global community through various types of collaborations pertaining to all facets of the hospitality industry,” concluded Chedid. “In parallel, we always seek to introduce to our Lebanese cuisine, flair, modernity, innovation, and quality products to help it evolve further.”

Chef Joe Barza, famous throughout Lebanon and the Middle East, explained: “Events like this allow us to grow our culinary industry and heritage. It’s aimed at informing and educating children on how a kitchen runs, with variants of three different types of popular foods prepared using fresh and healthy ingredients. Kids get to witness the entire process a dish goes through before being served, helping them better understand techniques and tools required.”

Chef Sleiman Khawand also shared his thoughts on the event, saying “the kids had a blast, because the activities were designed to be informatively-engaging, as well as fun. Putting kids full of life and passion in a kitchen with experienced chefs is a great way to proactively teach them without being too academic. This helps them not only retain the information presented, but also to use it in their daily lives.”

Chef Abdallah Khodor warned against the imminent danger of unhealthy eating habits. “The rise in popular on-the-go snacks, as well as fast food eateries is appealing to many types of consumers, especially children. So, instead of denying children such foods, this kind of event, we hope, will generate an immediate change. Planting a healthy seed in these children’s minds will ensure them a more promising future.”

About Nestlé for Healthier Kids

The Nestlé for Healthier Kids global initiative aims to help 50 million children lead healthier lives by 2030, through leading research in children nutrition, product innovation and the introduction of healthier foods, as well as education and innovative nutrition and lifestyle programs and services developed and implemented with partners around the globe.

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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.

About Worldchefs

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.

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Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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