Thursday, October 8, 2015

Pilot Light Founders Paul Kahan, Matthias Merges, Jason Hammel And Justin Large Aim To Empower CPS Children To Develop Healthy Relationships With Food

CHICAGO (October 2015) – On Thursday, October 15th, in honor of Farm to School Month and National School Lunch Week, Pilot Light, a not-­‐for-­‐profit started by award-­‐winning Chicago chefs, will partner  with Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the USDA Food and Nutrition Service and Aramark to provide  over 390,000 CPS students with a chef-­‐designed, Chicago-­‐themed lunch. The founding chefs, Paul Kahan (Blackbird, Big Star), Matthias Merges (Yusho Chicago, A10), Jason Hammel (Lula Cafe) and Justin Large (One Off Hospitality) worked with Aramark to build a meal that adheres to USDA’s healthier  school lunch nutrition standards, connects to Pilot Light classroom lessons, and includes locally-­‐sourced food.

In addition to a delicious lunch featuring a Chicken Taco Al Pastor, “Reset the Table” will highlight all that CPS has already accomplished in improving school meals and will include Common Core-­‐compatible classroom lessons for grades K-­‐12 and an educational video, developed with the guidance of seven-­‐time Emmy Award-­‐winning “Sesame Street” producer Ian Ellis Black, for CPS teachers to utilize in their classrooms to educate students about the food on their plates. The lessons will feature engaging activities for students, along with materials in English and Spanish that include a recipe and comic for students to share with their families.

In Chicago, childhood overweight and obesity rates are nearly twice the national estimate, especially in low-­‐income areas. As schools focus on meeting academic performance standards, nutrition education often takes a backseat.  Pilot Light’s goal is to empower children to develop a healthy relationship with food through a standards-­‐aligned classroom curriculum that weaves food education into school subjects, such as math, science, social studies, and English. For more information about Pilot Light, please visit

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