Rachael Ray and Yum-o! Share Fun and Healthy Cooking Ideas at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival

March 6, 2008  • 

(Miami Beach, FL) — In late February, Rachael and the Yum-o! team traveled to sunny and warm Miami Beach, FL to participate in the 7th Annual South Beach Wine and Food Festival. A benefit for Florida International University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management – one of the premier hospitality schools in the country – the festival has quickly grown to become one of the premier events of its kind. With over 50 different events throughout the weekend and 35,000 attendees, there were not enough hours in the day to partake in all of the activities!

With one clear objective in mind, Rachael and the Yum-o! team set out to raise greater awareness about the growing problem of childhood obesity, showing how Yum-o! is addressing this issue by empowering kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking.

Childhood Obesity Initiative Luncheon
Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday morning kicked off a Childhood Obesity Luncheon with a Panel Presentation featuring:

Arthur Agatston, MD
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Agatston Research Foundation

David Ludwig, MD
Harvard University, author of Ending the Food Fight: Guide Your Child to a Healthy Weight in a Fast Food/Fake Food World

Nancy Montanez Johner
Under Secretary, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, United States Department of Agriculture

Alice Waters
Founder, The Edible Schoolyard

Rachael Ray
The Yum-o! Organization

Jamie Oliver
School Dinners Project

The purpose of this panel discussion was to bring together a group of experts to discuss childhood obesity prevention in a holistic manner as a step towards ongoing dialogue and action. And what a panel this turned out to be! From doctors to chefs to media personalities, the camaraderie and commitment to reverse the trend of childhood obesity from this diverse group of leaders was truly special. The luncheon was attended by doctors, media, scientists, teachers, students, parents and more.

The panel was able to tie together the work of one another on this issue while inspiring hundreds of people in the room along the way. Dr. Agatston talked about his HOPS (Healthier Options for Public School Children) study; Dr. Ludwig spoke about his OWL Clinic (Optimal Weight for Life) at Children’s Hospital Boston; Under Secretary Johner spoke about various initiatives within the USDA; Alice Waters talked about The Edible Schoolyard; Jamie Oliver talked about his School Dinners campaign in the UK; and Rachael spoke about the Yum-o! organization and its partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a joint partnership between the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association.

Rachael also shared how she grew up around food and how food helped shape her life. She reflected on memories of her grandfather, who used to grow all of the food her family ate, and how colored, processed foods in the lunchroom used to scare her and cause her to come home from school crying as a little girl. Rachael emphasized the importance of getting into the kitchen and around the dinner table to share stories and create memories as a family – how starting with a group of raw ingredients and ending up with a finished product is such a great experience for kids.

At the end of the panel, questions and comments were taken from the audience, many of whom shared how each of the panelists had inspired them. Audience members asked how they could take action within their family or community and the panelists answered according to their backgrounds and experience.

The luncheon ended with a standing ovation for all participants in honor of their commitment to ending childhood obesity. All attendees will look forward to seeing these individuals and their organizations continue to make an impact on kids and their families – and to do so themselves, too.

Fun and Fit as a Family
Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday morning kicked off the first ever Fun and Fit as a Family at Miami’s own Jungle Island. Recognizing its potential to positively influence the community, the Festival partnered with the South Beach Diet to present a weekend of interactive, educational activities geared to teaching kids and their families how to choose and prepare foods to maximize health and implement other beneficial lifestyle changes. Rach and Yum-o! could not have been more thrilled to help kick this weekend off!

With cameras from Good Morning America rolling, Rachael and festival founder and director Lee Schrager met a young Miami-Dade student at the entrance to Jungle Island and toured the fun-filled activities, such as Alice Waters’ garden and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Hydration Station. Ending up at the culinary demonstration stage, Rachael gave a quick, healthy snack demonstration to the 1100 people in attendance. With her new friend Alex Marie, Rachael showed everyone how to make Banana Sushi, a quick and easy recipe that any kid can make as a snack or for their lunchbox.

Kidz Kitchen Cook-Off
Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday morning brought the sun and 500 people hungry to see Rach and her buddy Jamie Oliver, each paired with two young cooks, go head-to-head in an Iron Chef-style kids cook-off competition. The goal was to make a fun, healthy recipe, with the kids doing the majority of the cooking. The clock started and they were off, with Team Ray and Team Oliver hittin’ the stoves. They glanced at their ingredients, huddled to make a plan and started chopping and dicing. Team Ray decided to make a Monte Cristo sandwich with some ham and turkey on whole wheat bread. To go along with that, they made a Tropical Fruit Compote with mango, apple, berries and a touch of maple syrup. Team Oliver went with an Oat and Honey Flapjack, which is similar to a granola bar here in the States, and a semifreddo as a dessert (a semifreddo is a quick version of an ice cream that anyone can do at home). Time was called and three parent judges from the audience took to the stage to taste. In the end, it was a tie and all four kid participants went home with a $250 gift certificate to William Sonoma – and everyone in the audience went home with a few more family-friendly recipes.

Rach and the Yum-o! team had a blast raising awareness about Yum-o! and spreading the word about Rachael’s Yum-o! family-friendly recipes. For more Yum-o! family-friendly recipes, check out the searchable recipe section on Yum-o!’s website

That wraps up the long weekend in Miami for the 7th Annual South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Until next year…!