SOURCE: Chartwells School Dining Services

Chartwells School Dining Services

February 27, 2012 16:42 ET

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and Rex Hospital Chefs Team Up to Celebrate American Heart Month With Chartwells' Chefs 2 Schools

Chefs From Rex Hospital Visit East Chapel Hill High School to Educate Students on the Importance of Whole Grains and How They Relate to a Heart Healthy Diet

CHAPEL HILL, NC--(Marketwire - Feb 27, 2012) - On February 23rd, Chartwells School Dining Services and chefs from Rex Healthcare, Raleigh, NC, worked together to educate the students of East Chapel Hill High School on the importance of eating whole grains and other delicious varieties. Launched in March 2011, Chefs 2 Schools leverages First Lady Obama's "Chefs Move To Schools" concept. The premise of each program is that chefs have a unique ability to deliver healthy nutrition messages in a fun and appealing way to children by creating healthy dishes that taste good. Chartwells has been providing meal services for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School (CHCCS) district since 2010.

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Trust for America's Health 2010 Executive Summary, North Carolina ranks 10th in the country for obesity levels. In response to this epidemic, institutions in the Chapel Hill area are taking steps to improve healthier options in their dining services. Rex Healthcare recently became the first hospital in North Carolina to go 'fry free' with healthier items and 'Fryerless Fridays' in February. In 2010, CHCCS pulled fryers from their kitchens and made serious efforts to be role models in improving health in the Triangle area of North Carolina -- Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh.

Under Chefs 2 Schools, guest chefs 'adopt' a local school district, make occasional planned visits to designated schools, focus on healthy meals and educate students about sound eating habits and food preparation. The host school welcomes the chef and shares ideas on how to assist at the district. With the recently updated USDA standard, there will be an increased focus on whole grain products as well as additional vegetables and fruits. "Chartwells had already incorporated many of these changes in CHCCS schools when we launched our own guidelines in 2010," said Ryan McGuire, Chartwells Chef-Trainer.

School administrators have been very pleased with transitions of foodservice in CHCCS. In addition to emphasizing whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, snack items meet or exceed district nutrition standards. Extended menu options are offered and menus are translated into Spanish. Foodservice employees have also reduced the amount of preservatives, artificial colors and flavors. Customer service training has been heavily emphasized. Recent efforts by Chartwells in the last year have resulted in 10 of the district elementary schools winning the Bronze award in the HealthierUS Schools challenge -- by far, the most won by any district in the state. McDougle Elementary also won a Bronze award in "The Alliance For A Healthier Generation."

At the February 23rd event, Rex Healthcare chefs Jim McGrody and Ryan Conklin provided East Chapel Hill students with samples of a vegetarian wheatberry chili, which has become a favorite in their cafeteria. This vegetarian chili is a great option for those considering a "flexitarian" diet, which decreases the intake of meats. Many East Chapel Hill High students had never heard of wheatberries before. The chefs passed out recipes for them to try at home and displayed what the berries looked like in their raw stage. In all, over 200 samples were given out. "If we can get 10 students to say they like wheatberries, the event was a success," said Chef Ryan Conklin. "We got way more than that to confess to us that day that they really enjoyed the dish."

About Chartwells School Dining Services
Chartwells, a division of Charlotte, NC-based Compass Group, provides dining services for over 550 public school districts and private schools, comprising over 6,000 separate elementary, middle and high schools nationwide. For more information about Chartwells School Dining Services, visit

About Rex Healthcare
Rex Healthcare, a member of UNC Health Care, is a private, not-for-profit health care system with more than 5,200 co-workers. Rex Healthcare has 665 beds (439 general acute beds and 226 skilled nursing) and treats nearly 34,000 inpatients each year. Rex offers dedicated centers for cancer, surgery, heart and vascular, post-acute rehabilitation and skilled nursing care, wellness and women's care plus dedicated services for bariatric, heartburn, pain management, sleep disorders, diabetes education, wound and emergency care. More than 1,100 physicians are on the Rex medical staff. Rex provides various health care services throughout Wake County with facilities in Apex, Cary, Garner, Holly Springs, Knightdale, Wakefield and downtown Raleigh. Rex was the first hospital in the Triangle to receive Magnet Recognition, placing Rex nurses among the top 6 percent in the nation. Rex was named one of the top 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare magazine in 2008, 2009 and 2011, and was highlighted as one of the Top 50 Hospitals in the U.S. by Becker's Hospital Review in 2011. Visit for more information.

Contact Information

  • Ayde Lyons
    Chartwells School Dining Services
    Phone: 914-935-5320
    Email: Email Contact