HealthCorps and USANA Inc. Team Up for Teen Battle Chef Extravaganza

Posted 03/12/2012 | By HealthCorps

A week ago, Wednesday, February 23rd, two teams of teens battled it out for the title of winning chefs, during a special Teen Battle Chef. The event at Columbia University Mallman School of Public Health, also highlighted a new three year partnership between HealthCorps and USANA Inc., united in the fight against teen obesity. Attending the cook-off were Dr. and Mrs. Lisa Oz, participants in the judging panel that also included Chef Rocco DiSpirito and Chef Michael Ferraro as well as USANA founder, Dr. Myron Wentz and CEO Dr. David Wentz.

Highlights of the afternoon included culinary artistry by teens from Cliffside High School, NJ, and Monroe High School from the Bronx, NYC, with demonstrations of knife skills like the bear claw (which protects fingers during cutting and chopping), and rocking the boat knife motion (which quickly cuts vegetables). Black eyed peas with beets and collard greens went up against a Kenyan dish with chard, jalapenas, tomatoes and coconut milk, topped with crushed peanuts. Students on both teams shared stories as they cooked, providing laughs and some amazing insights. Two of the teens had never been willing to taste vegetables until they began the HealthCorps’ curriculum and learned lessons in nutrition and cooking skills. The mother of one teen stood up from the audience to share that she was, “eternally grateful for the HealthCorps’ program and Teen Battle Chef, which taught her son health lessons that he then brought to the home.” Several of the teens grinned as they offered Dr. Ozisms like:

  • Tomatoes are good for your heart, of course, because inside they resemble the 4 chambers of the heart.
  • Create a dish that has some fat, which fills you up, but make sure it contains healthy fat like avocadoes.
  • Black eyed peas are actually beans, which are nutrient powerhouses.

The teens also wowed the audience with some interesting facts, like:

  • Chew gum when you cut onions, to avoid shedding tears.
  • Peanuts are called ground nuts in Kenya, because they actually grow in the ground.

Chef Rocco and Chef Michael both relayed how learning to cook, as young men, literally saved their lives, and during the judging phase Dr. Oz requested additional tastes of both dishes, because “the portions of the delicious recipes were just too small.” Lisa Oz commended both teams and assured them that she would be cooking both dishes for the Oz family.

When it came time for the awards, Cliffside High was voted “best presentation,” while Monroe High received “best taste and culinary artistry.” All participants received a set of cookware and a ticket to see the Health and Happiness Summit at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday, February 25th, featuring Dr. Oz Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Nicholas Perricone, Rovenia “Dr. Ro” Brock, Dr. Michael Breus, Dr. Myron Wentz, Dave Wentz, Montel Williams, and Lisa Oz.

Press coverage of Teen Battle Chef included Inside Edition, Bloomberg News Service Syndicate, FOX 5 New York, Family Circle, Fitness Magazine, TeenVogue.com, The Knot, Downtown Magazine, The Daily Meal, Classtivity, Getty Image, Wire Image, Talent Magazine, and Film Magic.

A special thanks to Erica Irvin, a third year coordinator with HealthCorps, and FPOP, Columbia’s Society for Food Policy and Prevention, for helping with the event.

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