This chef loves kids

What happens when you take a chef with a passion for nutrition and a love of children and mix them together? You get Chef Tom Ohling, the Nutrition Magician. After spending the past ten years in and out of classrooms, Ohling has shared his message with over 60,000 kids. The money isn't great; he does get paid these days the going rate for school assemblies (the first four years were entirely on a volunteer basis), but that isn't what motivates Ohling to continue doing what he does best. That's to mesmerize the kids and teach them that eating right is fun.

We know there's an award for the Iron Chef but there should be an award for a chef with nerves of steel. If so, certainly Chef Ohling would be in the running. While in the classroom, Chef Ohling gives every child an orange and a knife. During his presentation the children are taught sound principles of nutrition and how to garnish a bird out of the orange. We're not talking only high school students here, Ohling does this presentation with children as young as first grade.

One teacher said this about his presentation, "If someone would have told me that a chef would come into my classroom of first and second graders, giving them an orange and a knife and instruct them not to touch either one until later, I would have said 'impossible.' Then if that someone would have gone further and said the children would be taught how to carve a bird out of the orange and how to understand the food pyramid and then would be able to intelligently talk about it a week later, I would have shouted, 'that's really impossible.' But that's exactly what happened in my own classroom."

"I get so many smiles, pats on the back and letters that it’s all worth it. I have saved many of the notes over the years and still enjoy going back and reading them all over. One child's note always brings a smile to my face. He drew a picture of me and said this, 'Thank you all-mighty chef person. I liked you a lot, very a lot!' Knowing that I connect with students and help them to understand the importance of eating good food and sitting down with their families to commune with one another is incredibly rewarding," says Chef Ohling.

When Chef Ohling isn't in the classroom he is a busy foodservice speaker and seminar presenter. In recent years, he has criss-crossed the country sharing his passion for the hospitality industry. Ohling's message centers around the idea that foodservice operators have a wonderful opportunity to create a "Make our day!" experience when friends, families and business associates gather. He adds, "We provide the moment of connection, and that's so important. Foodservice workers have a part to play in something very meaningful, and that's something we all should focus on a little more than we do."


I can not find the paper that this wonderful story was in, if you know I would like to give credit. Contact Tom.


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