20 Most Influential: Michelle Obama, Let’s Move!

Obama's Lets Move! campaign is dedicated to solving obesity within a generation.

Official White House photo by Chuck Kennedy

Michelle Obama
First Lady; Creator,
Let’s Move! Washington, D.C.

It’s good to have friends in high places. And it doesn’t get much higher than the White House.

Never before has one person brought so much attention to school cafeterias. Since her family took up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in early 2009, Michelle Obama has been the biggest advocate on a nationwide basis for child nutrition. She started Lets Move!, a campaign dedicated to solving obesity within a generation.

One of Let’s Move!’s five focus pillars is providing healthy foods in schools. To help accomplish this goal, Obama developed Chefs Move to Schools, to pair commercial chefs with school foodservice teams for training and inspiration.

“Chefs are one of the few groups that have that deep knowledge of food and cooking but also have that star power to turn a vegetable into a fun, exciting moment,” Sam Kass, assistant White House chef and senior policy advisor for healthy food initiatives, says about Chefs Move to Schools. “There is something about a chef’s coat that kids are really drawn to. We wanted to have that knowledge and power to support what schools were doing.”

It’s not just the chefs who bring excitement to school cafeterias. Kass says when Obama walks into a school it’s “pandemonium.”

“The first lady has had a tremendous impact on school lunch and the school meal program,” Kass adds. “The most important accomplishment was helping to pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which will bring more resources than ever before to school meal programs and improve the nutritional standards for the first time in 15 years. It’s going to help school chefs who are working hard to put nutritious meals on the plate.” 


Foodservice Director has undertaken a bold initiative by identifying people who we believe are having the biggest impact on non-commercial foodservice. Our list may surprise you and should certainly intrigue you. Our honorees have backgrounds as varied as their personalities. They range from the father of the modern-day food truck to the wife of a sitting president. They include operators and suppliers, chefs and consultants, CEOs and civil servants. There are traditionalists and there are mavericks. Well-known names share space with hot newcomers. In all, 17 people, two groups of individuals and one institution compose the list. It’s time to meet FSD’s 20 Most Influential.

More From FoodService Director

Managing Your Business
staffing

In October, the unemployment rate hit its lowest point since the Vietnam War, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And it’s a number that is significantly affecting foodservice hiring.

Not only are directors and chefs having a tough time filling job s but they also can’t find enough skilled workers to execute the menu and provide good customer service. As operators continue to grapple with this problem, some are finding the solution lies in extensive cross-training.

Multitasking to stretch staff

“Every staff member is trained to multitask,” says Kory Samuels,...

Industry News & Opinion
voting

Residents of Missouri and Arkansas voted on Tuesday to increase their state’s minimum wage to $12 and $11, respectively.

The wage hikes approved for the two states will be phased into place over a period of years.

In Missouri, where the minimum is currently $7.85 an hour, foodservice operators and other employers will be required to pay a minimum of $8.60 as of Jan. 1, $9.45 in 2020, $10.30 in 2021, $11.15 in 2022 and $12 in 2023.

Arkansas’ pay floor will rise to $11 by 2021. The legal minimum wage will rise to $9.25 an hour on Jan. 1, $10 a year later and $11 the...

Menu Development
fresh fruit

More than a third of college students (39%) say they have a few snacks between meals, according to Technomic’s 2017 College & University Consumer Trend Report , powered by Ignite. While fresh fruit is the snack of choice for college kids, operators can also satisfy cravings with more standard snacking fare such as chips. Here are the most preferred snacks for college students.

!function(e,t,n,s){var i="InfogramEmbeds",o=e...
Menu Development
coffee cake

Step into any of Florida State University’s three dining halls on a Friday and you’ll be met with a line that is often 30 to 40 guests deep. Since before the current dining team can remember, Honey Fried Chicken Fridays have been a popular weekly routine for Florida State students, as well as the surrounding Tallahassee community.

“You’ve got to get there early, or you’ve got to be patient because it’s that popular,” says Scott Bryan, public relations specialist for Seminole Dining.

While FSU’s famous honey fried chicken has been on the menu for years, chefs recently...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code