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This past Saturday morning in Dillon MT, as the snow was falling and the wind was blowing with all its   force, I tucked into a nondescript building at the local fairgrounds to be a judge for the Beaverhead County 4-H Food Fair.  Each of the young people involved had to create a balanced, nutritious menu based on the Choose My Plate program, set a table with the proper components in the correct manner, and then cook one of the dishes off their menu. They really made some tasty stuff! 

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It was great to see how many of the kids were there with their grandmothers – a great source of culinary wisdom.  Since I got my early start in cooking sitting on the kitchen floor of my childhood home watching cooking shows in elementary school, helping my grandmother make Thanksgiving dinner for 25 relatives, and began chopping onions at a local bistro when I was fourteen, I love seeing young people excited about food!

kids food festival

 As a chef, I have had many requests to participate in volunteer community events over the years. I have auctioned off countless dinner parties for various charitable organizations, cheffed it up for church fundraisers, and I even made a dish for almost 600 people a few years ago for the Focus on Farming Conference in Seattle.

Now I work for Great Harvest Franchising, a pretty big company headquartered in a fairly small town, but the need to get people excited about cooking and eating wholesome meals is no less important.  Growing up as a suburban kid from Chicago, the 4H program was far, far off my radar, but now that I live in rural Montana I can really see the value and the importance of organizations such as this to a small town’s younger residents. It was fun for me to participate in an event that really has one main goal – to get young people learning the lifelong skill of cooking and to get them thinking about nutrition and the fuel they put in their bodies. 

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Something we have talked a lot about here on the Great Harvest blog is that great nutrition inevitably comes from scratch cooking a balanced diet at home from products bought at the perimeter of the supermarket and avoiding frozen, canned, and fast food.  The best way to get kids thinking about diet, nutrition, and cooking is to get them in the kitchen cooking with you.

 kids cooking

 Whenever I visit home and spend time with my family, my nieces and nephews are always enthusiastic sous chefs for every meal we are preparing whether that is making whole wheat pancakes for breakfast or a roasted lamb leg for Christmas Eve dinner.  They see it as a fun activity that hopefully is planting the seeds that will make them lifelong cooks.  They even follow this blog and as a family made the pizza recipe that I wrote about a few weeks ago! 

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So find a young person in your life this week and get them into the kitchen and have them help prepare dinner or a healthy homemade breakfast – it will bring you closer together and help start them on the path of healthy wholesome eating.

Need inspiration? Check out some of Scott’s recipes here: 

Great Harvest Recipes

 

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I'm Scott Molyneaux and I joined Great Harvest in September 2011 as the Corporate Chef. I am a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York and have worked in various segments of the food industry, including restaurants, large and small scale catering operations, private dining, retail, and lodges over the last 20+ years. At Great Harvest my efforts are focused on research and development of new products, wheat testing and purchasing, and teaching new franchisees how to be phenomenal bakers. I love living in Montana which gives me ample opportunity to pursue my interests of snowboarding, hiking with my dog, camping, riding my ATV in the mountains, playing my guitar, and of course cooking.