2005 Golden Carrot Award Winners
Out with the meatloaf; in with the veggie chili. It’s National School Lunch Week, and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine announces the winners of its 2005 “Golden Carrot Awards” for innovation in school food service. The grand prize went to Susan Wolfe-Hill, a private food service operator working with the Poughkeepsie Day School in New York. Three second-place prizes went to food service professionals in Santa Barbara, Cincinnati, and Montpelier, VT.
PCRM established the Golden Carrot Awards in 2004 to recognize food service professionals doing an exceptional job of improving the healthfulness of school lunches. PCRM looks for programs that encourage kids to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and that offer plenty of vegan, low-fat, whole grain, and nondairy options. Children who are raised on a healthy vegetarian diet have a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers compared to those who grow up on an average American diet.
This year’s Golden Carrot winners:
- Susan Wolfe-Hill, chef and owner of The Balancing Act, won the grand prize for the creative food service program she runs for the Poughkeepsie Day School. At least half of the menu items available each day are vegan; all soups and stews are homemade and vegetarian. Recent choices include Louisiana-style Red Beans and Brown Rice, Penne with Broccoli, Vegan Corn Chowder, and Butternut Squash Soup. Wolfe-Hill will win $1,000; the school will receive $2,500.
- Rick Hungerford, food service director at U-32 High School in Montpelier, won a $500 second prize. Hungerford’s many innovations include bringing in outside chefs to teach food service personnel how to cook with tofu, seitan, and other meat alternatives.
- Laurel Lyle, executive chef of the Peabody Charter School in Santa Barbara, won a $500 second prize. Her kitchen emphasizes simple, fresh-cooked meals prepared largely from local organic produce and grains. The school has also formed alliances with local farmers and teaches kids to garden and compost.
- Jan Alford, food service director at The Seven Hills School in Cincinnati, Ohio, won a $500 second prize. Alford recently overhauled her school’s kitchen, tossing the deep-fat fryer, eliminating all foods with trans fat, and making organic soymilk and rice milk always available.