• 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.

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

– Martha Beck

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

– J.G. Holland, novelist

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.”

– Robert Frost

Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now.”

– Jack Kerouac

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

– Robert Louis Stevenson

Never cut what you can untie.”

– Joseph Joubert

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.”

– Steve Jobs, Apple, Inc.

I always maintained that the greatest obstacle in life isn’t danger, it’s boredom. The battle against it is responsible for most of the events in the world — good or ill.”

– Dr. Evelyn Vogel, Dexter

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

– William Shakespeare

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly,
 what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.”

– Alfred Adler

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

The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something.”

– Nolan Bushnell, founder, Chuck E. Cheese's

He who knows he has enough is rich.”

– Tao Te Ching

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

– Charles Dickens

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

– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

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

– Patrice Wynne, WomanSpirit Sourcebook

My job is my hobby. I come to work to play.”

– Uli Becker, president, Reebok International

Don’t follow your dreams. Chase them.”

– Richard Dumb

Passion makes perfect.”

– Eugene Biro

He who wants to tear down a house must be prepared to rebuild it.”

– African Proverb

If people like you they’ll listen to you; if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”

– Zig Ziglar

Look at everything as though you were
seeing it either for the first or last time.
Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.”

– Betty Smith

You must have chaos within you, to create a dancing star.”

– Frederic Nietzsche

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams, for when dreams go, life is a barren field frozen with snow.”

– Langston Hughes

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

– Robert H. Schuller

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

– Eve Ensler

There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…”

– John Lennon

You often meet your fate on the road you take to avoid it.”

– Goldie Hawn

The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.”

– Bruce Lee

Never never never never give up.”

– Winston Churchill

The only way to compel men to speak good of us is to do it.”

– Voltaire

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.”

– Leon Joseph Suenens

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

– Groucho Marx

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

– Debbi Fields, Mrs. Fields Cookies

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

– Barack Obama

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

The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”

– Nolan Bushnell, founder, Chuck E. Cheese's

The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.”

– Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., U.S. Supreme Court justice

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

– Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

A person who learns to juggle six balls will be more skilled than the person who never tries to juggle more than three.”

– Marilyn vos Savant

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

– Francesca Reigle

A warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge, and challenges cannot possibly be good or bad. Challenges are simply challenges.”

– Carlos Castaneda

The follow-your-gut mentality of the entrepreneur has the potential to take you anywhere you want to go or run you right out of business.”

– Bill Rancic, "The Apprentice"

The goal of Life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with nature.”

– Joseph Cambell

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.”

– Henry Miller

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

– Steve Jobs

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

– Thomas Edison

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

– William Blake

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

Be Inkandescent Magazine's Back Issues

Don’t miss the great advice our entrepreneurs have offered in the past. Click below to view our back issues.