White House Hangout: Let's Move! with Chef Cris Comerford and Gail Simmons

Uploaded by letsmove on 11.05.2012

Kori Schulman: Hey, everyone.
Thanks for joining us.
This is a really special White House Hangout.
Live from the White House Kitchen we have Gail Simmons,
White House Chef Cris Comerford who are
going to be talking about "Let's Move! "
and healthy choices.
We also have some participants who are
joining us from across the country.
So why don't I turn it over to you all to sort of
introduce yourselves.
We'll go left to right.
Ben Schmidt: Sure, my name is Ben Schmidt.
I'm from Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Gail Simmons: I guess I'm next.
Kori Schulman: Kitchen, yeah.
Gail Simmons: I'm Gail Simmons and I'm so excited
to be here at the White House with Chef Cris who
I've admired for a very long time.
Chef Cris Comerford: Thank you, very much.
And my name is Cris Comerford.
I am the White House executive chef.
Pass on to you, Shannon.
Shannon Thornton-Berry: I'm Shannon Thornton-Berry,
high school counselor in
Shreveport, Louisiana.
Kori Schulman: Awesome.
So we're so glad that all of you are here.
And we might have some more people join us over
the course of the conversation.
I think we have a double Ben possibly.
Gail Simmons: We have a twin Ben.
Kori Schulman: The more the merrier!
This is amazing.
So I think I'll sort of open it up to Ben and
Shannon to start asking questions.
If you're watching this and you want to pose your
questions on Twitter you can use the #askletsmove
and I'll sort of be scanning that and I'll ask
your questions and hang out as well.
Ben Schmidt: Sure, Shannon, would you like to start?
Shannon Thornton-Berry: I actually just have an
informal question to ask Chef Comerford what's for
lunch today?
Chef Cris Comerford: Actually we're just
getting over lunch right now.
And of course one thing that we as chefs right now
have really committed ourselves into is the use
of seasonal vegetables in the garden.
So what more would represent it best, I mean,
a nice minestrone soup.
We have some good winter greens that are still a
part of our winter harvest.
And also we have some legumes that just
came from it.
So just a very simple soup, but it's very
healthy and it's good for you.
Gail Simmons: Yum.
Ben Schmidt: I have so many questions, I don't even know
where to start, but I'm actually curious
as to, like, how you originally got into
cooking and what made you want to be a chef.
And did you ever dream that you would be a chef
in the White House one day?
Gail Simmons: I would like to know the answers
to those questions, too, actually.
Kori Schulman: Wouldn't we all!
Chef Cris Comerford: Actually, it wasn't really
a dream for me to become a chef.
When I was going on to my college years, I went to
the University of the Philippines,
took food technology.
I was a science geek.
It was my father who did ask me to like I should go
to culinary school.
But at that point in time I thought I knew better
than my father.
So this is the lesson: Your parents really know
best so listen to them.
So here I am right now.
It's really such a blessing.
Gail Simmons: That's so interesting.
I think it's only really recently that people, like
it's so forward thinking for your father to
encourage you to go to culinary school.
I have so many friends who started as chefs who
wanted to become chefs.
And when they told their parents, their parents
were horrified because it really wasn't something
that was so well known to do.
Shannon Thornton-Berry: Well, Gail, I think
because it used to be known that culinary was
seen as more of an art and now like Chef Comerford
said it's referred more to as a science.
Gail Simmons: I think you're right.
I think sort of now it is also a career that has
so many opportunities.
Really only in the last two decades has becoming a
chef I think been seen as something that can really
offer you amazing opportunities to work in
so many different ways that people didn't know
about it before.
It was never, when I was at college it was never
something that people talked to me about doing.
I would never have known to do it.
It was sort of by accident, too, that I fell
into a career as a food professional.
Chef Cris Comerford: And I think that's why
Mrs. Obama had the same passion in her heart that
chefs just have such a special place that we like
actually like, very talented, you know, she
uses chefs a lot to use as a platform to kind of like
initiate more of her "Let's Move!
" campaign because chefs have the know-how, we know
the techniques, we know how to make food taste good.
So we have this program with the "Let's Move! "
campaign with chefs like partnering with different schools.
So it's really cool that chefs right now are being
used in so many different facets of society.
Gail Simmons: I think chefs have the knowledge
that we then need to trickle down to everyone
because the more people know about eating right
and making really great healthy food choices, you
know, if they can be taught it by the food
professionals, the chefs who everyone admires, then
they're obviously more adapt to bringing it in to
their own lives, in to their own kitchens at home.
Shannon Thornton-Berry: But how do you impart that
in to a society that is the drive-through
mentality of "I don't want to spend money and I don't
want to make an effort.
" So there are so many kids out there that are
getting their dinner out of a bag every single night.
Chef Cris Comerford: You know, one thing with
the "Let's Move!
" campaign is that we kind of have partnered as well
not just with chefs but also with cafeteria
workers, with caregivers, with parents, I mean,
anybody that would be willing to, like, have a
healthier lifestyle because our children is
going to be the future leader of this generation.
So if we don't take care of them right now our hope
is just to instill that value that you think
healthy is actually going to be, you know, that's
really the future that we want to hope for.
Gail Simmons: Right.
I think that that's the challenge, too, of how do
you get people to eat well, to eat healthfully,
to make choices when they're faced with the
fact that in a lot of places around the country
it is less expensive to get a cheeseburger and
fries than it is to buy a granny smith apple.
So how do you teach people to shop properly and when
they are faced with choices of being at a fast
food chain that might not have other choices to know
what they can then choose, that will be better for
them, better for their children.
And certainly it's just vital the more education,
I think, the more people we motivated to eat well.
Kori Schulman: That's a great segue.
This is a question that came in on Facebook from Nuala Leong.
And she says, Dear Gail and team: You've probably
heard this question so many times.
I'm the mom of a two-year-old daughter who
will not eat any green vegetables or fresh fruit.
I've tried so many approaches bringing her
fruitpicking, adding fruit to ice cream, hiding in
vegetables, it's just not working.
And she doesn't know what to do.
So what kind of tips would you offer to her?
Gail Simmons: I can start but you're the mom
so you're going to have to pipe in here.
But I certainly have experience with this.
I do hear that a lot.
But this question never gets old because I think
it's really realistic.
You know, the thing is that children, especially
very young children, they're going to lean
always towards sweets.
And always towards that kind of simple foods that
often aren't the most healthful, that don't have
the most nutrients, so how do you get them to eat
well and to incorporate more and try more things
in their diet.
You know, I think that this woman is doing all
the right things and I think that the smartest
thing that she said there was taking her child into
the kitchen with her, taking her child
fruitpicking, all of those things to get her involved
in the food experience.
Two is still very young; right?
You're still, you know, she is just learning to
talk, just learning to make her own choices, but
you hope that the more experiences you give your
children in the kitchen where they're involved and
where they're trying new things, maybe they don't
have to always like it, they're not going to like
everything, but as long as they understand that all
you have to do is try it that when we do get older
and are make their own decisions that they will
make informed decisions that do lean towards a
larger sort of more diverse diet.
What do you do for your child?
Like how do you get them to try new foods?
Chef Cris Comerford: I have a ten-year-old
daughter and the good thing with her is that she
really watches her parents.
So it's really leadership by example.
I mean, don't force anything on her that, you
know, the last thing you want to do is, like, you
have to eat your broccoli because it's really,
really good for you.
I mean, it's kind of like anti, you know, like, all
right, so what we try to do is we fill our, you
know, plates with vegetables and things that
even I myself back then was not very privy to but
I have to lead as an example for her.
So whenever she sees us enjoying vegetables and
we're like really happy enjoying it, she's like
could I have a piece of that.
So little by little, kind of like talk their language.
If they want to have carrots at first, eat the
carrots every day.
Just give them the vegetable that they like
and then every now and then take them to a
farmers market, to a farm, you know cook with them,
just give them little bits of things that if they
don't like something, if they don't like spinach,
don't give them spinach.
Give them something else that they will enjoy.
Gail Simmons: Excellent.
Shannon Thornton-Berry: Yes, letting them have the
choices, I think, is really key and also make it fun.
Make it like maybe dinner is just appetizers with a
whole bunch of little vegetables that they
dip and things.
As long as it's party food, kids love it.
Kori Schulman: I wanted to welcome --
Gail Simmons: I'm sorry, Kori.
Kori Schulman: Oh, no, I wanted to welcome the
new hangout participant.
Can you introduce yourself, let us know
where you are coming from?
Gary Oppenheimer: Me?
Kori Schulman: Yeah.
Gary Oppenheimer: I'm sorry.
I apologize.
I'm Gary Oppenheimer.
I'm the founder of Ampleharvest. org.
Gail Simmons: Excellent.
Hi, Gary, nice to meet you.
Gary Oppenheimer: Nice to see you.
How are you?
I know food from the White House kitchen garden some
of it is donated to pantries.
I was curious how much actually gets to the
pantries in the White House area?
Chef Cris Comerford: In terms of percentage,
I mean, it depends on the season as well.
Gary Oppenheimer: I lost the audio.
Chef Cris Comerford: Can you hear me now?
Gail Simmons: Hello?
Kori Schulman: We're good.
Gail Simmons: Okay.
Chef Cris Comerford: Okay.
But I will answer that question anyway, I mean,
basically whatever we give to the pantry is like, you
know, it depends on the season.
During harvest, we do get a lot of, between our
winter veg and our lettuces and root
vegetables so we make sure that after we take care of
the events in here -- can you hear me now? Yes.
So after like the events are pretty much done here
we make sure that none of the vegetables go to waste.
So between the different, the market stable here
right in the D. C.
area, we kind of make sure that we take care of our own.
You know, they're just within a few miles from
the White House, so we make sure that we
pack them well.
And, of course, we don't wait until it's, you know,
the vegetable is kind of like, whenever they are in
season, of course, we make sure, you know, that it's
sent to the right places.
Gail Simmons: That's amazing.
Kori Schulman: I wanted to just remind everyone
we're taking your questions on Twitter as
well so if you use the #askletsmove I
am scanning Twitter.
There is a question that comes from Shala Price and
her question for both Gail and Cris is, what are
your favorite dishes?
Gail Simmons: Where to begin!
Chef Cris Comerford: That's a hard question.
Gail Simmons: That is a hard question because
being in this industry because I love
to eat blatantly.
But I really do love eating in season.
I think that is something that is so, so important.
The same way that you don't want to eat
everything every day, I feel like the cycle of the
seasons is so important for that because every few
month you're introduced to a whole new beautiful crop
of food and it just so happens because of it that
I get really excited at the turn of every season.
So right now what I love more than anything is all
the beautiful spring vegetables that are coming
into season and spring berries.
Spring is berry season and berries are delicious.
So I eat a lot of berries coming into spring,
May into June.
Right now things like peas and asparagus, mushrooms
are starting to come into season.
You know, I spend, when I get to cook at home for
myself that's the stuff I really gravitate to.
You know, I love making soups and stews.
They're also really easy to freeze and to make big
batches of so that I can eat them throughout the week.
I love corn, I mean, corn in summer, peaches in
summertime, all that stuff that you only eat for a
little time but you really crave throughout the year.
Those are my favorites.
Gail Simmons: Oh, there seems to be a bit
of an audio problem.
Kori Schulman: Gary, make sure you are not
watching it on your screen as well.
That might be causing a little bit of feedback. Gary?
Can you hear me? All right. Well, Gary?
Hey, I think there is a little audio feedback.
Gary Oppenheimer: Okay. Yes?
Kori Schulman: Gary --
Gary Oppenheimer: Yes?
Kori Schulman: Could you just turn it, not play the video
on your computer while you're in the hangout.
I think problem solved! Great. Okay.
So I'll turn it back over to the kitchen.
Cris, do you want to speak on your favorite food?
Chef Cris Comerford: Yes, definitely.
And just to piggyback on what Gail said earlier,
seasons really dictate what I want to eat.
You know, there is always a price for like
summertime you have got these beautiful peaches
that just, you know, Maryland also between
Virginia we have the local peaches we love the most.
You go to the Catoctin mountain in Camp David,
I mean, it's just beautiful peaches in there
during the summertime.
And so really nature and season really dictates
what I feel like eating for the most part.
So when I go to the farmers market, the
grocery store even, I mean, I'll look around.
I don't shop for something like I have a taste for.
I'll look around and see what really looks best out
there for me to use right now.
Gail Simmons: To be inspired by.
Chef Cris Comerford: To be inspired by it because,
you know, in the end they will taste the best when
they are in season and they're actually cheaper, too.
So you really get, like, two big deals.
Shannon Thornton-Berry: So then how do kids that
are going into a school cafeteria where there is
not seasonal fresh produce, and there's not
berries and things like that, how do you get them
excited about eating school lunch when they
walk in and they don't see anything that they want to eat?
Gail Simmons: Well,this, I think this is
really where it falls to parents and to the
administrators, you know, of school programming and
school lunch programs, the chefs in the cafeterias
and really disseminating information to them.
We're not going to be able to get children excited
about school lunch if school lunch isn't going
to hold any value for them and I don't blame children
for not wanting to eat it.
It really is I think then where we really need to
engage our local school systems as parents, you
know, as members of our community, to make sure
that the people who are facilitating the school
breakfast and lunch programs are really taking
advantage of and using the best product that they can
get access to.
And that comes, you know, that's hard work.
It's a very difficult thing because as we know
the budgets are going to be limited.
There are so many children in school breakfast and
lunch programs in this country and if they're not
getting good food through that, through those
channels, you know, how can they expect to learn
for themselves; right?
This needs to be an education process.
Shannon Thornton-Berry: Well, and that's exactly
what they will say is that, well, you are asking
us to put a meal out for a $1.67
yet you want it to have fresh seasonal produce,
you want it to have all these healthy whole grains
and lean proteins and have the kids be excited about it.
How are we supposed to do that when our budget just
got cut like everybody else's.
Gail Simmons: Right.
Chef Cris Comerford: One wonderful thing that
the "Let's Move! "
campaign has done in the last two years is that
because of the let's move to school program we have
actually had installed about a thousand salad
bars in these different public schools.
There are 31 million kids that are participating
right now in the National Lunch Program and
11 million kids in the National Breakfast Program.
So you know like this is really a very, very
important issue.
And the First Lady's, you know, heart and passion is
that these are what we really want to target right now.
The kids, healthy eating in school, you know,
teaching the administrators, working
with the cafeteria workers in there and even using as
a chef to partner with them so there's a lot of
things that, you know, Mrs. Obama is doing right now.
Gail Simmons: And I think that the message
there, a lot of chefs that I work with in New York
City are getting really involved in their local schools.
A lot of them are parents too and you can only
imagine that the culinary professionals want the
best for their kids.
So, you know, engaging and doing outreach to chefs
that are local in your community to come in and
talk to the kids, to talk to the cafeteria and
school lunch professionals about creative ways to
make the food more appealing to incorporate
more healthful choices, you know, to see about
really expanding that dollar and making it work
for choices that are, you know, more meaningful and
more helpful to the kids.
There's a lot of, there's definitely a lot of ways
to incorporate more vegetables that doesn't
have to be really expensive.
You know, there are a lot of ways to get vegetables,
you know, even that are frozen or that are canned
but that are still going to be better quality than
just, you know, white rice and plain potatoes.
You know, frozen spinach, frozen peas that are
picked and then frozen at the peak of their ripeness
are still going to have a lot of great nutrients and
there's great ways, it is all about being a
little bit creative.
Shannon Thornton-Berry: I think that is definitely
important especially since here in Louisiana over
two-thirds of our public school kids are on free or
reduced lunch programs.
So that may be the only vegetable that they see all day.
That may be their only hot meal that they get.
And when you have 67% of kids that are on a free or
reduced lunch program, it's imperative that
somebody tells them, hey, it's okay to have peas,
it's cool, you can eat vegetables.
You don't have to wait until you get home
and drive-through.
Kori Schulman: So again on twitter if you're
watching and you want to pose a question, use the
#askletsmove and I am scanning the questions
that are coming in now.
There was a question from Fit Chics on the Move.
We've talked a lot about healthy choices in the
kitchen but she asks more about the activity part.
I started Couch-to-5K program for girls and need
some ideas on keeping them motivated.
Any thoughts on that?
Gail Simmons: You know, I think that this is the
problem we all have, staying motivated to
exercise, getting out, because it's a lot more
comfortable to sit on your couch.
And everyone has a busy life and at the end of the
day it's exhausting.
That's something that I think I encounter for sure
at the end of my workday.
I think the important thing -- there's two
things that I always think about when exercising that
motivate me is do it with people.
Working out alone is not a very motivational thing.
You know, it's not going to be fun so find a partner.
Someone else who has the same motivation to do it
as you do.
That way when you're not feeling into it they'll
help you and support you and vice-versa.
The other thing to me that really helps is great music.
I mean, that can mean the difference for me between
working out or not working out.
When I know that I have great music to listen to
and a friend to do it by my side it really
helps the process.
So what Fit Chics on the Move is talking about, I
mean, it sounds like an amazing initiative.
Getting planned programming where everyone
has to do it together, you have to sign up at the
beginning of the week and then you're locked in but
then you know a bunch of your friends are going to
do it with you I think that is a really
great motivational tool.
Chef Cris Comerford: You know, like for me,
Kori, what I do is that it's really just simple
steps that you can do right now because like for
me I am just as busy as everyone else so to find
time to go to a gym or to exercise I really do
not have that.
I mean, I would rather spend that time with my family.
But then when I do, you know, like we do a
lot of walking.
We have a 52-pound poodle that needs a lot of
walking every day, so that is pretty much where I get
my exercise from.
And then really like when you park, when you go to
the mall, it's really, like, don't look for
the closest space.
It mean look for the farthest one that, you
know, you could walk and really like work your abs
when you, like, get your shopping bags full and
then you come back.
So it's really little steps every day.
Instead of taking the elevator use the stairs.
Maybe go up and down like a few times, you know,
during your work hours because, you know, pretty
much it's all of these little things that
would add up.
I have like this little step counter to put on
your waistband because at the end of the day like on
my normal day I have about 18,000 steps that I take
so I am, like, ooh!
I did my exercise already.
So for me it's like motivation saying like I
am doing, you know, good exercises today but on a
day that I'm not doing that much and I'm like I
might have to work out extra today because I only
did ten thousand steps.
So it's really planning and looking
at your overall lifestyle.
Kori Schulman: We have another question from Twitter.
Simone Robinson just asked what are the top two or
three dishes every parent should know how to cook?
Gail Simmons: That's a great one.
Chef Cris Comerford: Do you want to take that one first?
Gail Simmons: I think you're the parent.
I think you should answer it first.
Chef Cris Comerford: Sure, the top three dishes.
Pasta and anything long with pasta sauce, tomato
sauce, kids love.
I don't know if it's the texture or whatever but I
myself could eat spaghetti every day.
Gail Simmons: Me, too, for sure.
Chef Cris Comerford: But now this is where it
gets healthier because you don't want just like a
white semolina pasta or you know like you want
something that is going to like be whole grain.
So find something that is whole grain and then make
your own sauce.
If you do not have time to do your own tomato sauce
at home, look into the jars to make sure that you
are not getting sauce with a lot of salt, a lot of
added sodium in there, artificial, you know,
coloring and flavor.
Make it as natural as can be.
One other thing that you have to learn as well is pizza.
I know, kids love pizza.
Gail Simmons: There is no denying, kids and adults alike.
Chef Cris Comerford: Yes, so speaking their
language, make a good pizza.
You know, make them like work with you on like, you
know, do a pizza night on a Saturday that everybody
could play with the whole wheat dough.
Do your grilled vegetable.
Everybody does their own topping.
But again use a lower fat mozzarella cheese.
So, you know, just little things that you could kind
of like tweak on your recipe.
And the third thing, tacos.
Kids love tacos.
And as soon as you say taco night it's like, you
know, they're getting a party.
So instead of ground beef why not do a
ground turkey this time.
Use a leaner meet.
Put a lot of, you know, like nicer greens as
opposed to just like, you know, the iceberg lettuce.
Some lettuces that are better nutrients than
iceberg so find something that would have
a better nutritional value.
Gail Simmons: So it's all about choices, then, I would say; right?
Chef Cris Comerford: It's all about choices.
Gail Simmons: Pizza, pasta and taco night are
all things where you can line up tons of great
vegetable choices, low fat cheeses, whole grains and
incorporate all of them into every dish.
Chef Cris Comerford: Yes.
Gail Simmons: I like that.
Also I would add as a fourth thing, eggs.
You know, learning how to make healthy egg options, too.
Scrambled eggs with lots of veggies in them.
I love to make them.
I made it for breakfast this morning, actually.
And it's really easy to also use a lot
of different choices.
You can use, you know, peppers or, you know, any
kind of vegetables, mushrooms, incorporate
tomatoes, little things that you can kind of mix
into scrambled eggs or fried eggs that you can
then make delicious and it's also really fast to
make for kids.
Kori Schulman: Anyone else in the hangout have
other questions they would like to ask?
Like I can keep going from Twitter and Facebook over here.
Again, if you--oh, Ben, did you have another question?
Ben Schmidt: Yeah, actually, I was wondering
what, from Chef Comerford, what is the highest
pressure meal that you have had to prepare in the
White House so far?
Chef Cris Comerford: I think, you know, every day
for me is a high-pressure meal because you want to
make sure as a chef, you know, I don't delineate
between a state dinner or like just a simple meal
for like the daily meals.
For me any meal as a chef is high-pressure.
It's when your stomach is like, oh, my gosh, are
they going to like this or not.
So for me I treat every meal as my best meal to
make so that is kind of like my mentality.
I hope other chefs, you know, feel the same way.
Kori Schulman: One question that we had from
cooking Matters on Twitter is what are your tips for
making healthy dishes more affordable?
Gail Simmons: Sure, I mean, there's lots of things.
I think that making, getting the most for your
dollar when you are shopping in the grocery
store is really important.
So there is a few things that you can do.
Always when you are going to the store look for specials.
Look for coupons. Plan in advance.
And also make a plan and be organized about what
you want to cook for that week that way you are not
buying a lot of ingredients that then will be wasted.
You know, if you have a kind of a plan or an idea
of what you have in mind you are going to just buy
what you need as opposed to buying lots of things
and trying to figure out how to put them together
and possibly wasting food later.
And there's a lot of ways that you can kind of make
choices for what you're going to make that will
then make dishes more affordable.
Like cooking in bulk.
If you, for example, one thing I love to do is if I
have an hour or two free on a Sunday I will make a
really big soup or a stew.
And I know that I'll be able to eat it once or
twice during the week at least and freeze whatever
is left over for another time.
If you are going to make things in bigger batches,
you're definitely going to stretch your dollar a lot more.
Any ideas?
Chef Cris Comerford: Yes, you know, you said
pretty much, you know, really planning
is the main key.
When you like on a Saturday night, this is a
good day and a good time to really as a family cook
together, get everyone involved.
Do your bulk cooking.
You know, after you have shopped and pretty much
you know you have got everything in there you
are chopping onion for spaghetti sauce any way
you might as well, you know, shop the onion for
your soup that you're going to make for the week.
So it's really looking ahead for the week and
planning your meals so that that way whatever you
are purchasing for that week you know just buy
whatever is in season, whatever is like on sale
at the same time because couponing is really
good as well.
But it's really looking ahead, you know, and for
me I love leftovers so anything left over at home
I turn it into something else that kids won't think
it's a leftover.
It is just utilizing everything in the
refrigerator as much as I can.
Gail Simmons: I think also what can be confusing
is you think that buying a lot of food in a larger
quantity all at once is going to be less expensive.
But if you buy certain things that are perishable
in large quantity and don't have time to cook
with them then you're going to waste them.
So buying all your basics in bulk is really great
for the dollar.
But then buying things like fresh fruits and
vegetables you should buy in smaller portions just
on a weekly or biweekly basis, if you can.
That way you know that you will use them all and that
you won't be wasting, you know, really valuable and
nutritious food that could go to waste if you don't
eat it quickly enough.
Kori Schulman: One of the questions that we've
been getting a lot on Facebook and on Twitter,
on Google is about deserts.
Someone asked about your favorite healthy recipe
for chocolate cake.
A lot of other people have just sort of been asking,
you know, they love deserts.
What are your tips on a healthy take to that?
Gail Simmons: You know, I recently was on a show
where I was challenged with this exact question
how to make a healthy chocolate cake and I was
really nervous because you want chocolate cake
to be satisfying.
I would rather eat one small slice of a really
satisfying desert than an entire cake that doesn't
really taste like anything; right?
So how do you make it real satisfying?
Subbing in Greek yogurt, really rich, creamy, low
fat Greek yogurt for oil and eggs in the cake
recipe works really well, I found, surprisingly.
So that's one way to cut down on the fat
and the calories.
And then if you have a slice, let's say, of
chocolate cake, and you want to bulk it up with
nutrients, use a lot of fresh fruit, berries.
I find that one of the best ways to make a
healthy dessert really delicious is to
cook the fruit.
Something that people don't always do, you know.
If you grill the peaches or carmelize them a bit
they get that, you know, really delicious flavor.
And adding a little bit of sweet, something sweet,
like a little drizzle of honey really goes a long way.
And then you can put it with something like a
plain or a vanilla-flavored yogurt, you know.
Fresh ricotta, low fat ricotta is a great
substitute for rich, cheesy, or full-calorie
yogurts and things like that.
Chef Cris Comerford: My downfall as a chef is a
nice piece of chocolate cake.
I cannot resist it.
As we said earlier, I mean, it is really
substitution, finding the right substitute.
I mean, like apple puree acts
as a good instead of butter --
Gail Simmons: Yeah, for brownies.
Chef Cris Comerford: Yes, for brownies and
stuff like that.
So there are things that you could use
as a substitute.
But one thing that works for me
is really moderation.
There is nothing wrong with a good chocolate cake
as long as you don't eat it every day.
You know, for me it's more like an end of the week,
like Saturday is my chocolate cake day so I'm
looking forward to it.
But then at the same time it's really just, you
know, rewarding yourself.
I mean, we don't want to be food police.
We want to enjoy life as well.
So there is nothing wrong with every now and then
enjoying a nice piece of wonderful chocolate cake
made with butter and, you know, milk and eggs and sugar --
Gail Simmons: Everything that chocolate cake should be.
Chef Cris Comerford: Everything that chocolate
cake should be but then it's really the
key is moderation.
But eating healthy prior to that as well.
Gail Simmons: Right. exactly.
I think it is having a small slice of chocolate
cake at the end of your day once in a while or
whatever desert you want, if it's an ice cream
sundae or a cup of butterscotch pudding, all
the things that I really, really love, I'm going to
do it but I don't do it all the time.
And also making sure I get a really healthy meal
first in my day.
Kori Schulman: Any other questions from the
folks in the hangout?
Shannon Thornton-Berry: I just have a question
about whether or not that you have an opinion about
the vending machine in schools.
I know that it has been a back and forth about
whether the vending machines should only have
diet drinks and water and sports drinks or whether
they should not have them in the school at all or
whether the schools need the money to run their
programs and so the schools say no, we need
the vending machines because they bring in
thousands of dollars a month.
Is that contradictory to telling the kids to eat
healthy when there is a vending machine right when
you walk into the cafeteria that has chips
and cookies and snacks and brownies in it?
Gail Simmons: Personally I think that I
understand the need for the vending machine if
it's bringing in really important dollars to a school.
I don't want to fill up a vending machine even with
diet sodas because personally I think that
I'd rather not have any of it.
You know, diet soda is filled with a lot of
chemicals and preservatives and,
you know, sugar substitutes that I don't think are
that necessary and I don't think that children should
be eating a lot of either.
But I understand the need and the value of the
vending machine being there.
Filling it with healthy choices I think is the
only way to do it.
And if it means a little less money, I think,
taking responsibility for what our children are
eating is a lot more important.
You know, nuts and dried fruit, healthier snacks,
whole grains, you know, I don't think that -- I
understand that kids aren't going to go to the
vending machine looking for a bag of carrots.
But if there are a whole grain pretzel or maybe a
baked potato chip they know is a treat once in a
while, anything we can do to just get them eating a
little bit better is good for me.
What do you think?
Chef Cris Comerford: Actually, it's really
teaching your kids, you know, the basic,
like the foundation.
If they know the right choices that they would
make, because like my daughter goes to this gym
class and there are like two vending machines
side by side.
One is with the diet sodas and, you know, sugary drinks.
The other one has healthy choices.
They actually have apple, you know, applesauce in
there, they have juices, they got yogurt, some
really good, good snakes.
But then I really watched these kids how they
really, like, which ones should I pick.
But once the parents have instilled in their kids
which is better for you no matter they're going to be
out there they'll still be picking the better one.
So I was just kind of like really, really proud of my
daughter when she went for the apple, you know, juice
and the applesauce rather than going to the soda machine.
So it's teaching the kids.
Kori Schulman: I think we have time for about
one more question.
One thing that a lot of people are asking on
Facebook and on Twitter is about sort of how they
can get involved.
They're really excited about "Let's move! "
and making healthy choices.
What would you say to those people that are in a
range of industries?
Gail Simmons: I think you can go on "Let's Move! "
let's move's Facebook page and on the website
and get information about all the choices you can make.
I actually, you know, was doing a lot of research on
it and I was amazed at the accessibility of the
information that there was there.
Sample menus for your children.
Sample food ideas. Shopping ideas.
Tips that will help you cook throughout your week.
Ideas if you are getting stuck on what to make
for your family.
And then really challenging your community
and your friends and family to get involved and
get active together.
You know, I think that there is a challenge that
Mrs. Obama has been talking about lately, you
know, to get active and in a six-month period have a
goal with your community of doing a certain amount
of exercise together.
And I think forming teams is really going to help
you to do that, right.
Forming groups that you can motivate each other
for that you can even post your results to together
and the more you see other people doing it I think
it's infectious and more people will do it, too.
Chef Cris Comerford: And just to add to what
Gail said earlier, you know, the "Let's Move! "
campaign has really put people in a lot of these
engaging conversations, like what we're doing right now.
And it's really cool that doing the Google hangout
technology that we're able to like really converse
with you directly.
Because it's really between face-to-face and
people talking that all of these
conversations are generated.
And once the questions are asked and then, you know,
like what Gail said earlier there are a lot of
venues that if you want to volunteer go to the
letsmove. gov, you know, website.
There's a lot of venues in there.
If you're like a chef, you know, you could
adopt a school.
You know, Bill Yosses who is our pastry chef and
myself have actually adopted a school here in D.C.
that every now and then we get to visit.
You know, we read books with the kids, we show
them how to, like, you know, eat good vegetables.
So there is a lot of venues in such a way that
just simple people, regular people could
actually help out.
Kori Schulman: Thank you, so much.
So the two websites you should know are letsmove.gov
and then the Presidentschallenge.org
is where you can get involved and get active in
a physical fitness challenge.
And I just want to thank everyone for their time
and to Chef Comerford and Gail for joining us.
This has been really interesting and fun.
Gail Simmons: Thank you, so much.
Thanks, everyone, for chatting with us.
Gary Oppenheimer: Thank you.
Ben Schmidt: Thank you.
Shannon Thornton-Berry: Thank you.