Chef cooking up healthy lessons in a Lexington school

School lunches across the country underwent a major overhaul this school year with an emphasis on healthier options.

One school in Lexington went a step further hiring their own chef who is not only cooking up healthy meals, but as Amber Philpott found out is also teaching about them too.

At the Lexington School its nearing that time for the subject of lunch.

While students are busy learning the three R's, Chef Ryan is preparing his classroom, and its not about just eating.

"The primary goal is food education," said Ryan Laudenschlager.

If the hat he wears doesn't give it away, Laudenschlager is a full fledged chef.

With a culinary degree from Sullivan University there isn't much he won't try cooking for his students.

"I try to stay away from the idea of healthy food vs. non healthy food, all food is good they just need to learn about it," said Laudenschlager.

His lesson plan includes using locally grown from scratch food, like beef from a Woodford County.

Some days kids find foods on their plates they have never seen.

"Quinoa, amaranth, we did spelt wheat berries and they like that they get to touch and feel them."

Chef Ryan passed the test to work in restaurants and catering companies, but is he making the grade with the students?

"Usually you really have to sell it to kids and you do that by making it fun, colorful, but here the selling has been very easy."

At the Lexington School the real critics agree, they love news twists on old favorites like pizza and quesadillas.

Its an excitement Beth Pride, the Director of Admissions has never seen over food.

"My son came home last night talking about the chicken fingers that were completely homemade," said Pride.

In a time of pinching pennies at school many would think Chef Ryan's menu would cost a fortune, but Pride says its just the opposite.

"Things like Chex Mix and Cheez-It's to bring those in its expensive and in a lot of ways if you stay local and if you make different choices it ends up being about the same price," said Pride.

A lesson in math and nutrition that is coming to life literally each day when the students at the Lexington School sit down to lunch.

So do any of the students at the Lexington School ever bring their lunch?

Chef Ryan says out of 546 students not a one.

Next the school plans on starting a student run garden to use in their lunchroom and add to their fresh foods approach.


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