• October 2015

Foodie Alert: Dig Into the Business of Cooking Well

Are you hungry to eat healthy? Do you want your kids to learn to cook well? Do you have a secret desire to become a professional chef? Or are you stumped by how to boil water?

Whether you live to eat or eat to live, in this issue of Be Inkandescent magazine, we aim to provide you with plenty of food for thought.

We begin with a Q&A with Ann Butler, CEO and founder of Edible Education. The former high school cooking teacher took her skills to new heights in 2011 when she began teaching after-school classes in schools and in her new commercial kitchen in Midlothian, VA (a suburb of Richmond), as well as launching what is now the most popular C.H.E.F. summer camp in the region.

Having graduated 20,000 students — and counting — from her programs in the last four years, last year she began a catering service for schools and other institutions that don’t have a chef or food service staff. Instead of serving chicken nuggets and pizza, her team whips up nutritious breakfasts and lunches — and works with teachers to educate kids and adults about what they are eating.

This fall, Butler launched Edible Education TV, where kids are the celebrity chefs who prepare the dishes and teach other children to make healthy meals in 10 minutes or less. She’s also an ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s annual Food Revolution Day, a partner in the James Beard Foundation’s Better Burger Project, and the assigned chef of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Chefs Move to Schools” program for the Richmond Public Schools.

But the pièce de résistance of Butler’s growing, kid-focused food empire is her patent-pending brainchild, Kitchen a la Cart.™ This mobile cooking station comes complete with a running hot-and-cold-water sink, a kid-safe cooktop stove, an oven, a blender, a food processor, and all the utensils and tools you need to whip up everything from an apple tart to zucchini pizza. Schools across the nation, military organizations, and backyard chefs are flocking to buy the kitchen on wheels to teach cooking in classrooms, roll into remote villages, or tailgate at football games and NASCAR races. Scroll down to read all about it!

Are your creative juices flowing?

Then you won’t want to miss the other tasty tidbits in this issue, including:

  • How food becomes art when the pictures are taken by freelance food writer, stylist, and photographer Béatrice Peltre.

And that’s just for starters! We leave you with this parting thought from world-renowned chef James Beard: “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”

Bon appétit! — Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, Be Inkandescent magazine • Founder, Inkandescent Public Relations

Illustrations by MichaelGibbs.com

Kids Can Cook! Just Ask Ann Butler

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE MONTH: OCTOBER 2015

“It’s a funny thing, cooking and eating. We do it three times a day … you would think more of us would know how to do that for ourselves,” says the owner of Edible Education, Chef Ann Butler. Her strategy is to teach kids to cook, and teach them when they’re young. “If kids get to cut it, cook it, and taste it — they’ll eat it. Everybody’s happy when they are eating real food!”

By Hope Katz Gibbs
Publisher, Be Inkandescent magazine

At Edible Education, founder and CEO Ann Butler’s mission is to empower kids with the culinary skills they need to create simple, healthy, recipes made with real food. The award-winning cooking teacher launched her company in 2011 and in the years since has worked with more than 20,000 kids in dozens and dozens of schools.

This is just the beginning of her big dream. We visited Butler at her corporate headquarters — an industrial kitchen called Source Kitchen & Market, which is located just outside of Richmond, VA. Here, other chefs rent space to cook up their creations, and area residents come in to host parties.

This is also where Butler houses her original patent-pending creation, Kitchen a la Cart,™ a comprehensive cooking system that’s literally on wheels. When it goes into classrooms, it helps transform teachers into culinary instructors. The fully stocked cart — complete with a hot/cold running-water sink, a kid-friendly stove that only heats up the magnetic pan that comes with the cart so kids don’t get burned, an oven, a blender, a food processor, and more. The cart is so versatile that it is now also popular with backyard chefs and football game tailgaters, the military, and even a NASCAR chef.

Butler’s focus on education is where her heart is. She was one of the first US ambassadors for Jamie Oliver’s annual Food Revolution Day, which is held in May each year. She also worked this year with the James Beard Foundation on its Better Burger Project,™ — and Butler been the assigned chef to more than 30 Richmond public schools with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Chef Move to Schools program.

To teach, feed, and reach so many students, Edible Education employs more than a dozen chefs who all go out into the schools. The company’s reach extends beyond the public school classroom; for example, this summer Edible Education’s C.H.E.F. program worked with more than 600 students in Virginia, including nearly 100 at 4H. (Camp C.H.E.F. provides Culinary fun, Healthy lessons, Exercise, and Farming.)

Scroll down for our interview with the queen of cooking with kids.

Be Inkandescent: Take us back to the beginning of this sweet business. You came up with this idea in December 2011 after leaving your job as a high school Culinary Arts teacher. What was the impetus that led you to create a cooking school for kids outside school?

Ann Butler: High school kids are very smart and very eager to learn; however, they eat garbage. If I had to see one more kid walk through the door with Doritos and a Red Bull for breakfast, I seriously was going to pull my hair out. But the research shows that if you get to those kids at a younger age, you can actually make a difference, and that’s what we set out to do.

Be Inkandescent: That’s right. The Centers for Disease Control found that if children are exposed to 50 hours of food education by the time they’re 12, it changes the way they think about food for the rest of their lives. So, obviously it’s best to work with them young, in elementary school and even preschool. Tell us how you’re making this research come to life for thousands of kids.

Ann Butler: Once you get into the school system and you’re working with the kids, you don’t really need any studies — you can see it on their faces. Give the kids a cutting board; a safety knife; the opportunity to smell, touch, and taste the food; and have them cook it, and they absolutely will eat it! Once they are involved in the process, they have an ownership over the food and they are curious about what it tastes like. It’s really not very difficult to get kids to try the new foods.

Be Inkandescent: Tell us some of the stories you have from working with kids who are learning to work with food. You must regularly witness amazing things.

Ann Butler: We’ve had a 5th grader who had never eaten a strawberry before. We also had a 3rd grader who had never eaten a carrot because that child’s mom did not like the color orange. But my favorite story took place a couple of years ago, when we were doing a Parks and Recreation summer program with groups of 25 kids and three chefs who rotated through stations. It was omelet day, which requires eggs, so I had set up an Egg Education Station. A 7th grade student came in with a teacher’s aide because the student had autism and needed the aide to help him with daily tasks. He came over to my station and when it was time to crack the eggs, I gave every child an egg, including the 7th grader. His aide said, “Oh, no, I’ll crack his eggs for him.” I told her, “It’s okay — he can do it over again if he makes a mistake!” When he successfully cracked the egg himself, he immediately looked at me, and said, “Do you have a TV show?” When I said I didn’t yet, he said “I think I would like to have a TV show,” all because he got to successfully crack an egg.

Don’t get up from the table yet! Click here to read more of our our Q&A — and find her 10 Tips for Teaching Kids to Cook.

Ann Butler's 10 Tips for Teaching Kids to Cook

When you first see Ann Butler’s Kitchen a la Cart,™ it’s tough not to be blown away — or to see its many uses. It’s completely outfitted with everything you might need to cook with, and it can easily be wheeled into a classroom, or stationed in your backyard, or at tailgate parties. It not only has a childproof magnetic induction burner that turns off when the pan is lifted off the burner so that only the pan gets hot, but it also has a sink with hot and cold running water, an oven, and all the tools and small appliances you need to create delicious, nutritious meals throughout the school year.

How did Edible Education’s Ann Butler come up with this incredible product? Scroll down to find out. And don’t miss her 10 Tips for Teaching Kids to Cook.


BeInkandescent: What inspired you to create your Kitchen a la Cart?™

Ann Butler: In my commercial kitchen, one of the owners of the food trucks that uses our space to be compliant with the health ordinances taught a class to potential food truck owners. His goal was to generate business for his company, Joe The Cart Guy, which builds food trucks. I listened to his presentation and thought, wait a second … he could build me a food cart that I could send into schools. Now I’m trying to figure out how can I scale this so that Edible Education can not only be in central Virginia, but in Idaho, California, and Russia. The cart is what can get our information out there!

Be Inkandescent: You intend for schools around the country to buy the cart and the Edible Education curriculum. What’s your vision for how schools will use it?

Ann Butler: There are simple 3- to 4-minute videos that teachers can watch on EdibleEducationTV.com. We also provide the curriculum in electronic and printed form. A lot of teachers want to write in the book when they made a recipe, the students’ reaction to it, and how they will expand on the curriculum in their lesson.

The Edible Education curriculum is aligned with course standards, and we are getting them benchmark-aligned as well. The curriculum gives teachers of different subjects an opportunity to use food in their lessons. How hard is it to teach fractions when you’re making pizzas? Plus, students following a recipe learn teamwork — with 12 students around the cart and a teacher leading that group, the students following a recipe have to work as a team to be successful.

BeInkandescent: Along with reading recipes, following instructions, and sequencing, the cooking process develops 21st century workplace skills. You’re also enabling kids to be creative. And though you noted that it’s fine to “wing it” for many thing, baking is science — it’s chemistry.

Ann Butler: Creativity is crucial, and it is limited in our educational system. There is a kind of right and wrong in cooking, and the kids learn quickly what makes it wrong if they don’t follow the instructions. We have had students think salt was sugar, so they would add a cup of salt instead of sugar. They only make that mistake once.

Be Inkandescent: It’s empowering to cook, and to feed yourself well.

Ann Butler: It’s a funny thing about cooking and eating. We do it three times a day … you would think more of us would know how to do that for ourselves.

Be Inkandescent: Excellent point — and the perfect time for you to share tips on how to teach kids to cook.

What are Ann’s secrets? Scroll down to find out!

Ann Butler’s 10 Tips for Teaching Kids to Cook

  1. To easily extract an egg yolk, break the egg into a bowl. Use an empty plastic water bottle to suck up the yolks by slightly crushing the water bottle to create suction. Place the bottle directly over the yolk and release. Then you can “squirt” the yolk into a separate bowl, leaving the egg whites behind.
  2. Create stunning desserts with stylish glassware. Anything in a martini glass looks good — mashed potatoes, chocolate pudding, or a simple mixture of crushed graham cracker, cream cheese, and honey with fresh berries.
  3. Need an easy breakfast? Line silicone cupcake liners with 2 wonton wrappers and pour in some scrambled eggs with a little cheese and spinach — Wonton Mini Quiche. Bake until the egg is set, about 15 minutes — kids love them!
  4. A sweeter frog? Assemble green apples, green grapes, and mash some marshmallow eyes for a healthy version of a sweet frog.
  5. Top tomato, pumpkin, or squash soup with a spiderweb design using a pastry bag with Greek yogurt. No pastry bag? Snip off one corner of a Ziploc bag and “pipe” four concentric circles (circles of gradually larger sizes that all have the same center) into your bowl of soup. Using a regular dinner knife, start in the center of the bowl and “cut” your way out of the circles to the edge of the bowl to create a web effect.
  6. Be lazy and healthier on your next batch of potato salad — don’t peel the potatoes! Right under the skin is the most nutritious part of the vegetable, and no peeling equals saved time.
  7. Need a healthy snack in a hurry? Pop your own popcorn and experiment with different toppings — taco seasoning, Parmesan, or my favorite — drizzled honey with cinnamon and cranberries.
  8. Keep a clean kitchen — wash your sponges in the dishwasher once a week.
  9. Cut calories and increase versatility — use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Greek yogurt can also be used in smoothies, for cooking cream-based sauces, and in breakfast parfaits. Always purchase unflavored yogurt and add your own fruit and sweeteners.
  10. Need a more nutritious rice? Lightly steam cauliflower and pulse in a food processor — it’s the same consistency. Add your “rice” to pasta dishes, soups, and stews as a hidden fiber bonus.

For more information: Check out the new Edible Education website at www.edibleedu.com and Edible Education TV on YouTube at www.EdibleEducationTV.com.

With ordinary talents and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.”

– Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton

Instead of loving your enemies, treat your friends a little better.”

– Edgar W. Howe

A people who mean to be their Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

– James Madison

Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”

– Basil King

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

– Dalai Lama

The fixity of a habit is generally in direct proportion to its absurdity.”

– Marcel Proust

‎That which grows fast withers as rapidly; that which grows slowly endures.”

– J.G. Holland, novelist

Some things are destined to be—it just takes us a couple of tries
to get there.”

– J.R. Ward, Lover Mine

Letting go of expectations is a ticket to peace. It allows us to ride over every crisis—small or large—like a beach ball on water.”

– Martha Beck

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”

– Mark Twain

Of course there is no formula for success except perhaps an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.”

– Arthur Rubinstein

Our deepest wishes are whispers of our authentic selves. We must learn to respect them. We must learn to listen.”

– Sarah Ban Breathnach

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”

– Charles R. Swindoll

There are children playing in the street who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago.”

– J. Robert Oppenheimer

No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it”

– Andrew Carnegie

There is little success where there is little laughter.”

– Andrew Carnegie

If it isn’t good, let it die. If it doesn’t die, make it good.”

– Ajahn Chah

Ripeness is all.”

– William Shakespeare

If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”

– Anna Quindlen

As each woman realizes her power, she transforms the world.”

– Patrice Wynne, WomanSpirit Sourcebook

I don’t do very well without fear. There needs to be a part of me saying, ‘That’s going to fail,’ so I can prove myself wrong.”

– Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe

There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”

– JFK

They who give have all things. They who withhold have nothing.”

– Hindu Proverb

I can’t go back to yesterday—because I was a different person then.”

– Lewis Carroll

Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.”

– E.B. White

Success is about finding a livelihood that brings joy, self-sufficiency, and a sense of contributing.”

– Anita Roddick

Change is a math formula. Change happens when the cost of the status quo is greater than the risk of change.”

– Alan Webber, author, "Rules of Thumb"

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

– Charles Darwin

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.”

– Jalaluddin Rumi

A lot of people have ideas, but few decide to do something about them now. Not next week. But today.”

– Nolan Bushnell, founder, Atari

‎No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.”

– Charles Dickens

You’ve got to be willing to crash and burn. If you’re afraid of failing, you won’t get very far.”

– Steve Jobs

Traveling is one way of lengthening life, at least in appearance.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.”

– President Calvin Coolidge

The world I believed in, back in my most innocent, uninformed, childish mind—is real.”

– Martha Beck

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.”

– Charles Dickens

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

– Mary Oliver

When I dare to be powerful—to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”

– Audre Lorde

When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.”

– Audre Lorde

Find somebody to be successful for. Raise their hopes. Think of their needs.”

– Barack Obama

But all the while I was alone, the past was close behind, I seen a lot of women, but she never escaped my mind, and I just grew, tangled up in blue.”

– Bob Dylan

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”

– Lao Tzu

Why am I whispering when I have something to say?”

– Eve Ensler

There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.”

– Christopher Morley

A great secret of success is to go through life as a man who never gets used up.”

– Albert Schweitzer

A truly forgiving person is someone who experiences all the anger merited by injustice and still acts with fairness and compassion.”

– Martha Beck

It is only when the mind is free from the old that it meets everything anew, and in that there is joy.”

– J. Kristnhamurti, The First and Last Freedom

I have spent a good part of my life convincing people that a blank sheet of paper is the greatest opportunity in the world, and not frightening at all.”

– Marty Skler, executive vp, Walt Disney Imagineering

Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!”

– Andrew Carnegie

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

– Eckhart Tolle

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