I am happy to announce Will Isbell as our volunteer of the month! Will Isbell has been volunteering with Recipe for Success for many years. He has helped with numerous activities such as garden builds, student presentations, Eat This! Summer Camp sessions, and staff training. Will currently served as our moderator for our More Than Honey screening and panel discussion in celebration of Food Day. Will was the perfect candidate to lead our discussion due to his diverse background and experience with entomology and art. While he has taken many entomology classes at Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension, Will owes most of his knowledge to his grandparents. As a child, Will loved to play and explore in his grandparents' farm. His love for entomology and horticulture is shown when he volunteers with our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition EducationTM classes. He speaks so passionately that he is able to get many young students excited about insects such as stag beetles! When he is not in one of our classrooms, you can find Will in the studio as he is finishing up his Bachelor's of Fine Art in Studio Art. Will will always see himself heavily engaged in two of his passions: art and volunteerism. Though he does not like to pick sides, he says that RFS is one of his favorite organizations because he sees the impact we have on our students, parents, and communities long after our program is completed. We thank Will for being a great volunteer to Recipe for Success and he hope to have him for a lifetime!
"The serious effort at combating childhood obesity took on a glamorous note at River Oaks Country Club when Recipe for Success held its annual Blue Plate Special Cafe awards luncheon. As 300 influential Houstonians poured into the ballroom, it was quickly apparent that Recipe for Success founder Gracie Cavnar had gotten the attention of individuals who make a difference in H-Town..."
Read the full story by CultureMap's Shelby Hodge here.
Recipe for Success encourages students in its Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ programs to celebrate their family culinary traditions. At every turn, we incorporate key skills, such as writing and storytelling, into our curriculum, which is why students every fall write about their favorite holiday foods to share with their classes.
Each year, fourth graders in our programs throughout Houston submit entries for the My Favorite Holiday Food Story Writing Contest, and one talented student is selected by poet laureate TK as our winner. This year's winner was Ivan Marquez of Matthys Elementary, who wrote about his family's Thanksgiving tradition of having a special turkey that pays homage to his family's culture - it's stuffed with tamales!
"The smell is just irresistable! If you take only a sniff, it can put you in a food trance," says Ivan of his mom's dish. "It will make your taste buds not, but FLOOD!" Pretty enticing review if you ask us.
Ivan, his family and two Matthys educators attended our annual awards luncheon, where he joined other honorees on stage to accept his award from Chef Neal Cox, with whom Ivan will spend some one-on-one time as Chef for a Day, preparing delicious recipes in Olivette kitchen at The Houstonian.
What are YOUR favorite holiday foods traditions?
Chef Neal Cox, Ivan Marquez and City Councilman Steve Costello at the 2013 Blue Plate Special Cafe: A Harvest Market & Awards Luncheon.
"With special guest Mayor Annise Parker, mistress of ceremonies Deborah Duncan, Honi and Glen Bdoudreaux were honored along with Chef Ryan Pera as Chef of the Year; Olga Abundis, Teacher of the Year and Brook Candelaria and Suzanne Williams as Volunteers of the Year..."
See a slideshow and the full story in Houston Chronicle's Society Diaries here.
What did first-graders in Berry Elementary's Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ program think after tasting the white radishes that they planted, tended and harvested this fall in their Recipe Garden?
Learn how to bring Recipe for Success Foundation's proven nutrition education curriculum and hands-on cooking and gardening classes to your school here.
"It's pretty special to be offered a juicy morsel of slow-cooked pork right from the chef's hand. As dinner guests took a breather after the third course of a seven-course dinner last Monday night, a peach wood-smoked pork belly appeared on the chopping board, ready to be portioned and plated. Gently stroking the perfectly roasted meat, Ronnie Killen of Killen's Steakhouse and Killen's BBQ showed pride in his craft and an eagerness to share and please. He gently began to pick bite-sized pieces..."
Get the full scoop by wonderful RecipeHouse volunteer and writer-photographer Dragana Harris on MyTable's SideDish here.
A recent study by Johns Hopkins compared grocery and food access across the spectrum to test popular thinking that healthy choices improved as families worked thier way up the economic ladder. The findings might surprise you. We already knew that poor, racially segregated black neighborhoods lack supermarkets and the study reconfirmed that. But the small grocery stores they do have offer very few healthy products, instead favoring high fat, salt and sugary foods on their shelves. Though segregated Hispanic neighborhoods also have fewer supermarkets, their small gracers tend to stock healthier items. Even more shocking are stats reflect that even wealthier black neighborhoods have far fewer super markets and healthy grocery options than poor white neighborhoods. You can read more about the study in a recent LA Times story or in the Preventive Medicine journal.
As we prioritize efforts to provide healthier options for all our neighbors, perhaps we need to consider more than affluence and the fact that you can't simlply provide healthier options, people need to buy them. By identifying cultural favorites that are poor nutritional choices and working to educate folks on how to prepare them in a healthier way, we can influence the market. This is one of the things we do at Recipe for Success Foundation in our work with kids and their families. We rely on ideas like our friend Lindsey Williams suggested in his book Neo Soul: Taking Soul Food to a Whole 'Nutha Level. No one said you can't ever have red beans and rice again, just consider making it with smoked turkey sausage and maybe serving it with a green salad.
"School mornings are busy enough without fretting over what to give your child for school lunches. Preparing food ahead of time ensures that your child will have something good and healthy to eat at school."
View all 12 lunch ideas, including a recipe by Recipe for Success Foundation, at SheKnows.com here.
In the midst of its second year, Chef Surpríse is no longer a best kept secret, tucked away on a residential street in its happy lil' RecipeHouse home in the Museum District. After many rounds of guests, who become loyal fans and invite their friends, and wonderful media folks, who dine with us and help spill the beans, our fun and casual monthly dinner series are finally out of the bag.
Clear evidence can be found in Exhibit A: Before we even promoted it, Chef Ronnie Killen's dinner sold out. It pays to check the RecipeHouse website now and then, as Killen's Steakhouse (and Killen's BBQ) regulars shared their thrill in stumbling upon the event listing on our calendar.
Ronnie, ever the competitive soul, did not disappoint. His five-course menu (with a bonus amuse bouche of crispy pint-sized wonton tacos stuffed with tuna tartare) included showstoppers, from start (smoked pork and black-eyed pea gumbo) to finish (pumpkin bread pudding with burnt caramel and tres leches drizzle). Yet even more so than the pleasure delivered by each dish, guests relished the opportunity to get up close and personal with a favorite chef.
Patrons strolled up to the bar counter to chat with Ronnie (who doled out samples to anyone in arm's reach) about everything, from the meat he sources and preparation methods, to what it's like hosting Texans players in your restaurant on a regular basis. Clearly, though, Ronnie is a celebrity in his own right, and we're glad to have had him donate his time, talent and insight with us at RecipeHouse.
View more photos of the evening here.
The Chef Surpríse series is held the first Monday of every month at RecipeHouse and features a rotation of Houston's hottest chefs. Learn more and reserve seats for upcoming dinners here.
"In pursuit of its main mission, teaching kids how to eat healthier foods and resist the billions spent on marketing to convince them otherwise, the nonprofit known as Recipe for Success invites Houston area chefs to teach cooking classes and, on the first Monday of each month, serve up dinner with wine to raise money. It's an under-the-radar thing mostly; but thanks to the quality of chefs like Killen, the rightness of the cause and the intimacy of the dining room, these Chef Surprise dinners sell out often as not..."
Read the full review by food writer John DeMers at Delicious Mischief here.