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Chef Kevin Fonzo

RestaurantsDining and DrinkingWhite HouseJames Beard

It's easy to describe 46-year-old Kevin Fonzo: James Beard Award nominee, champion of farm-fresh ingredients, successful College Park restaurateur, cafeteria chef at Orlando Junior Academy. Yes, that's right. In one small Orange County school, Fonzo devotes his free time preparing healthful lunches for schoolchildren.

He calls them "his kids," and he is just as passionate about their food as he is the daily menus at his casual-upscale K Restaurant on Edgewater Drive.

In 2010, Fonzo was selected to participate in the "Chefs Move to School" summit at the White House, part of Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign to fight childhood obesity.

"I think a chef's role is not only to cook, but to teach," says Fonzo. "It's amazing what foods kids will try when they have a hand in growing them.

"When they grew beets, all of the students had to have their hands on the bowl when they presented the vegetables to me. Beets. Do you know how many parents can't get their kids to eat beets, or radishes? These kids couldn't wait because they were part of the process."

In March, he will host a field trip to the restaurant. "We're making a big salad and then pizzas."

School fun with a little education on the side for good measure: Sounds like a lesson plan for healthful living.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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