EDITOR'S DESK: North Okaloosa's 'Future Chefs' are learning lifelong skills

Published: Friday, March 21, 2014 at 07:27 AM.

We all like food that fills us up and tastes great.

"Food, glorious food," from the musical "Oliver!" vividly describes the difference between delicious food — which, to the workhouse boys' imagination, is "hot sausage and mustard," "cold jelly and custard" and "three banquets a day" — and gruel, which, just from name alone, isn't appetizing.

The universal message extended beyond the 1960s Broadway production, with variations in the film "Ice Age: The Meltdown," a "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" trailer and in the TV series "Family Guy," among others.

But moderation is crucial.

Thanks to a $4.9 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, eight college campuses across the country can spread the word about the danger of obesity and the benefits of eating — glorious — fruits and vegetables.

That includes the University of Florida, which will receive $557,000 in funding for the project

Locally, elementary school students already are learning these lessons. Sodexo and the Okaloosa County School District's March 13 Future Chefs Competition at Walker Elementary School didn't just attract students hoping to be the next Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, Paula Deen or Rachael Ray; it also taught contestants the importance of independence and eating healthy.

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