Spring break and big breaks

Spring break uneventfully came and went. I started out of the gate like gangbusters on Monday, with a full day of testing bagel recipes. But when I discovered the organic yeast wasn't very perky, I gave up and my enthusiasm for baking deflated along with my dough.

The rest of the week is a blur - I got angry with daughter's private school for holding a fundraiser at a chain pizza joint (the one with games and tokens), which sent the rest of my week into a frenzy of trying to figure out how to convince the world to eat better and get schools to stop endorsing chain pizza joints. My daughter goes to a private Montessori school, which is supposed to be encouraging farming, sustainability, and the like, not hopping on the chain-gang of crappy food.

Emails back and forth to the administration and PTO didn't make a dent in their fast-food school-of-thought, and my concerns of why we weren't focusing on Montessori fund raising (holding a drive-in movie at the school with homemade popcorn, having a car wash with soap the kids made from scratch, or similar) fell on deaf ears. I was told that, "Pizza isn't a deal breaker for most parents," and "Let's focus on the positive." In other words, "Shut up, Mrs. Viola, you're the only one who doesn't take her kids to burger and pizza joints that offer toys and prizes."

I felt defeated and angry. I get that it's pop-culture and hard to resist the marketing, and if parents choose to feed this stuff to their kids on their own, that's their business. It shouldn't be endorsed by schools though, especially a Montessori school.

Just when I had given up hope on ever trying to convince parents to stop feeding their children crap every day, I received an email from a friend of mine who runs a food management company. Her company just happens to provide healthy lunch programs to schools across the country and they were looking for a chef/recipe developer/tester and marketing person to help with their growing company.

The fact that they're growing so quickly means that parents everywhere are starting to get it - they're starting to realize that healthy foods are important for their kids and family. That alone makes me feel great. But the best part is that they offered me the position, which I graciously accepted.

I want to cry, I'm so excited to be making a difference this way - starting in a couple of weeks, I'll be developing and testing healthy school lunch recipes for schools across the country. And once the recipes are finalized, I'll help to create the marketing materials, videos and cookbooks for the schools using our program, as well as traveling to teach them how to cook the recipes.

The position is part time for now so I can finish school. I’ll also still hang on to my kitchen manager position at school to supplement, as well as continue my freelance food writing. It feels like I’ve finally pulled my career together, doing all of the things I love. Neat.

Oh, and our daughter is thankfully going to a different school next year in a smaller community where I’ll be able to offer cooking classes to the school kids and their families.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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            Baker College - Ground , Clinton Township

            Baker College is the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. Our mission is to prepare you for meaningful employment.

            1 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
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            L'Ecole Culinaire , Saint Louis
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
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            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
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            Salter College , West Boylston
            • Offers training programs in preparation for professional careers in business, health care, and computers.
            • Provides associate and certificate programs in medical assisting, massage therapy, culinary arts, and more.
            • Places students in externships to gain real world experience before completing their respective program.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
            • 2 campuses in Chicopee and West Boylston, Massachusetts.
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            • Accredited
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