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AICR Helps Tomorrow’s Chefs Cook for Good Health

David RobinsonAspiring young chefs are learning how to cook with cancer-fighting foods, thanks to a "Super Foods Dessert Contest" that AICR and Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) conducted at participating public schools across the nation.

At a July award ceremony at AICR's headquarters, David Robinson received a $5,000 scholarship as first prize for his dessert, Coconut and Chocolate Sweet Potato Pie. The dessert includes avocado, walnuts and flaxseed.

“I love sweet potato pie,” said David, “so I approached this challenge by trying combinations I knew could naturally enhance the sweet potato’s nuttiness, like toasted coconut and chocolate.” This fall, David will study nutrition and the culinary arts at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.

While in Washington, David also got to meet chef and contest judge Wil Going, Executive Director of Food and Beverage at Chef Geoff’s restaurant in Tysons Corner, Virginia. Going took David into the kitchen to help prep for the lunch rush and let him taste several new dishes.

Shameer GriffinShameer Griffin, of Randolph High School in Philadelphia, won the second place and a $3,000 scholarship for his Chocolate & Blueberry Tofu Mousse with Sesame Crunch.

Maricopa High School student Jessica Stansbery from Phoenix, Arizona, won third place and a $2,000 scholarship for her New York Style No-Bake Cheesecake that used oats and berries.

AICR provided dessert contest guidelines to students for using cancer-fighting foods in their entries and set limits on sodium, sugar and fat. The judges included top chefs and leading dietitians. The panel chose the winners based on originality, flavor, healthfulness, ease of preparation and writing.

Using Healthy New Foods

All the winning desserts help people enjoy healthier choices that reduce the risk of cancer.

“AICR is proud to play a part in helping tomorrow’s chefs create dishes that highlight the health benefits of plant foods,” said AICR’s Senior Vice-President for Programs Deirdre McGinley-Gieser. “These students were challenged to create delicious, satisfying desserts that let their ingredients’ natural flavors shine through. We’re delighted with the results.”

C-CAP provides scholarships, education and career opportunities in the culinary arts for underserved youth.

“Many young people today suffer from illnesses resulting from poor nutrition and being unaware about healthy eating," said Susan Robbins, C-CAP President. "Part of our mission is to educate C-CAP students on these issues and provide them with the tools and opportunities to encourage healthy lifestyles and be the ambassadors of this message in their communities. We are proud to partner with AICR in this effort.”

When McGinley-Gieser presented the award to second place winner Shameer Griffin, she recalled, "It was inspiring and, at times, quite emotional. I witnessed literally life-changing moments for some of these high school students.

"What better time to influence potential chefs about the links between food and our health than at the beginning of their professional training," she noted. "Cooking for cancer prevention is gaining popularity. We want to make it mainstream – starting with the chefs of the future."

For more information about C-CAP visit www.ccapinc.org.

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