When I am not stuffing my face with pizza or burgers for blog posts, I eat extremely healthy. I’ve always been a huge advocate for healthy and clean eating and I try my best to always incorporate real and whole foods in my family’s diet.
A week ago I ran into Rene, aka Bambino Chef at the Historic Downtown farmers market and she invited me to tag along with her to a local school for Jamie Oliver’s food revolution day. I thought it would be fun to see Bambino Chef in action! To be honest, I did not think that this morning would become so inspiring. It gave me a new found respect for people like Rene who take time out of their busy schedules to make a difference in peoples lives for nothing in return.
I met Rene at Bambino Chef at 9am before heading over to the school and on the car ride over there asked her a few questions about what we would be doing….
What’s your name? Rene Gonzalez.
What do you do? I am the founder of Bambino Chef aka Mama Bambino Chef.
What are we doing today? Today we are celebrating Food Revolution Day, it’s celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s organization to promote food education…. eating real food, staying away from processed foods….
So you’re an ambassador for Jersey City? Yes. I do various events in this role to share Food Revolution’s goals, their mission. I do this personally and not necessarily as Bambino Chef (I am the ambassador, not Bambini Chef). But at Bambino chef we have a program that is called “The Healthy Bambino” where we go to schools and it’s free.
We have workshops and seminars about healthy food and cooking from scratch. Today is all about teaching kids about real food. We are going to a school in The Heights to cook with kids. We are going to make a Jamie Oliver sandwich, and it’s all vegetables and fresh ingredients and then after we will talk about eating healthy.
How did you become an ambassador? Because what I do for work, a big part of my life is cooking healthy for and with children and I feel very strongly about it, as a parent and as a human being! I’ve always followed Jamie Oliver and thought this was such a perfect fit to do this. I just feel very passionately about this issue. I feel like we eat so much bad stuff….it is just unfair for the children. Obesity is a big problem. I really want to have some sort of impact and help change the way children look at food.
What is the age group? Between 1st and 5th grade. I leave it up for the schools to decide which grade…
Do the schools contact you? Sometimes they contact me, but I also contact schools. I try to go to all of them and this one was actually suggested to me. That it’s a really good school and the principal is a healthy eating advocate.
I am excited!
We arrived to the school at around 9:30 am and after checking in we were greeted by Principal Pristilli.
Principal Pistilli is a huge health advocate and because of her PS25 is one of the only schools that has a salad bar in Jersey City. They’ve also held many health education events to teach the kids all about leading a healthy and active lifestyle.
There is an obesity epidemic, around 1-5 children is overweight and that is before the age of 10. People like Rene and Principal Pistilli are making a huge difference in so many children’s lives.
Principal Pistilli brought us to a grade 5 class where Rene would be teaching and the teacher introduced us to the class. While Rene was setting up, the kids were waiting anxiously to learn, they were honestly the cutest and most well-behaved kids. I was completely astonished at how good the class went.
Rene is a natural, she is so good with the kids, she kept everyone’s attention the whole time, got everyone to participate and made everyone laugh. I fell in love with Bambino Chef all over again.
The kids learned to make a delicious sandwich made with tons of fresh vegetables, the class literally smelled like a fresh garden and the kids really enjoyed it.
I even learned a new thing or two!
After they finished making their sandwiches (I was kind of upset I didn’t get to taste it) they all were eager to ask Rene their burning health questions, they even asked where they could find more healthy recipes to bring home. It was obvious that in that one hour, those 25 kids learned to look at food differently.
It was such an inspiring morning not only because of the important healthy lessons these kids are going to bring home with them but also seeing the love Principal P has for these kids. These children clearly love and respect Principal P and are maybe a little afraid of her! They are so lucky to have such an amazing Principal that cares so much about their well being and not just their test scores. Even Rene was so emotional after our time spent at the school, and I was able to capture a sweet moment between her and Principal P.
I normally do not do this type of thing in blog posts, but this is an issue I think is extremely important, we need to implement more healthy eating options in all our local schools, these children need it, they need it to thrive so they can kick ass in the future. When Rene asked a few of the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up, they said; Engineer, Doctor, and some other intense ones… To be all those things we need to start with healthy habits!
What can be done to help: Nobody is going to hand us this big change! Nothing beats the power of parents that want their children to have a healthy future. Families should demand better and healthier options in schools. The best way to achieve this is to work together with the schools, with passionate principals and teachers (they can’t do it alone). Together we can accomplish this goal much faster!
PS25 I will be back. This isn’t the last of me! Am I too old to go back to the 5th grade?!