• 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.

When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius.”

– Joseph Addison

No matter how difficult and painful it may be, nothing sounds as good to the soul as the truth.”

– Martha Beck, from "Leaving the Saints"

Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.”

– Debbi Fields, Mrs. Fields Cookies

You only live once. But if you do it right, once is enough.”

– Mae West

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

He who knows he has enough is rich.”

– Tao Te Ching

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

– Arthur Rubinstein

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

– Nolan Bushnell, founder, Atari

Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them!”

– Madam C.J. Walker

If it really was a no-brainer to make it on your own in business there’d be millions of no-brained, harebrained individuals quitting their day jobs.”

– Bill Rancic, "The Apprentice"

Confidence is the most important thing you can teach someone… if you can teach them confidence, you don’t have to teach them anything else.”

– Vin Diesel

4oz tequila + 1oz TripleSec + 2oz lime juice + 1oz simple syrup (sugar=water), 1 cup crushed ice. Shake + dance around the kitchen.

– Avenida Margarita

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.”

– Steve Jobs

By your stumbling the world is perfected.”

– Sri Aurobindo

If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.”

– Jesse Jackson

Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth. Tame the dragon and the gift is yours.”

– Noela Evans

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

– Andrew Carnegie

The awakening to the mystery of life is a revolutionary event; in it an old world is destroyed so that a new and better one may take its place.”

– J.J. Van Der Leeuw, The Conquest of Illusion

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"

Destiny is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

– William Jennings Bryan

The biggest flaw in our existing theory of capitalism lies in its misrepresentation of human nature.”

– Muhammad Yunus

A man who strikes first admits that his ideas have given out.”

– Chinese Proverb

Tolerance and patience should not be read as signs of weakness. They are signs of strength.”

– The Dalai Lama

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

– Lewis Carroll

A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind.”

– Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

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

Whosoever knows how to fight well is not angry. Whosoever knows how to conquer enemies does not fight them.”

– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Always look at what you have left. Never look at what you have lost.”

– Robert H. Schuller

No longer talk at all about the kind of man a good man ought to be, but be such.”

– Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.”

– Francesca Reigle

Most people never pick up the phone and call. Most people never ask, and that’s what separates the people who do things from the people who just dream about them.”

– Steve Jobs

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

– Charles Dickens

I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent.”

– Thomas Edison

Your own words are the bricks and mortar
of the dreams you want to realize.
 The words you choose and their use establish the life you experience.”

– Sonia Croquette

It is to no purpose to turn away from the real nature of the affair because the honor of its elements excites repugnance.

– Carl von Clausewitz, On War

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

– Dalai Lama

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

– Albert Einstein

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

– T.S. Eliot

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

Speaking more than one language is no longer just an asset in today’s job market; it is a requirement.”

– Tom Adams, CEO, Rosetta Stone

Destiny is a name often given in retrospect to choices that had dramatic consequences.”

– J.K. Rowling

We are not meant to resolve all contradictions, but to live with them and rise above them.”

– William Blake

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

– Albert Schweitzer

The only dream worth having is to live while you’re alive and die only when you’re dead.”

– Arundhati Roy

We are all of us born with a letter inside us, and that only if we are true to ourselves, may we be allowed to read it before we die.”

– Douglas Coupland

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”

– Robert Louis Stevenson

I will pay more for the ability to deal with people than any other ability under the sun.”

– John D. Rockefeller

If you do not tell the truth about yourself
, you cannot tell it about other people.”

– Virginia Woolf

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