Good food from a clean bay

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Jun 13, 2012 - 01:33 PM

Photo: Virginia First Lady Maureen McDonnell, left, and former First Lady Susan Allen discuss the menu Executive Chef Peter Pahk prepared for the Healthy Bay for Healthy Kids event held at VIMS. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

Virginia First Lady Maureen McDonnell, left, and former First Lady Susan Allen discuss the menu Executive Chef Peter Pahk prepared for the Healthy Bay for Healthy Kids event held at VIMS. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

Photo: Madeline Peebles, left, and Brenna Hendrix of Ware Academy were among the ten Gloucester students invited to attend the program, “Healthy Bay for Healthy Kids.” Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

Madeline Peebles, left, and Brenna Hendrix of Ware Academy were among the ten Gloucester students invited to attend the program, “Healthy Bay for Healthy Kids.” Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

"A Healthy Bay for Healthy Kids: Cooking with Virginia’s First Lady" was the title of a springtime event at Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, and ten lucky second grade school students got to see and learn what it was all about.

First Lady Maureen McDonnell and former First Lady Susan Allen were present and highlighted the importance of healthy eating, each citing how it is practiced at their home. However, it was Peter Pahk, executive chef, Kingsmill Resort and Spa, assisted by Chef Ryan Manning of Colonial Williamsburg, who prepared and demonstrated to the students a delicious crab salad while they learned the importance of sustaining our natural resources.

Prior to the cooking demonstration, the students had been learning fun facts about crabs and what is needed to have a healthy Bay through hands-on activities and inter-active demonstration with Dr. Kirk Havens.

Maureen, mother of five, speaking to the children and their parents, told of the first book she ever read as a child on healthy foods, You Are What You Eat. "A healthy nutritious diet is most important and it should begin at an early age." She then asked the students if they knew why "junk foods are called junk foods? They’re junk, garbage to your body. Make good choices and they will become good habits."

The Virginia Executive Mansion has a garden, "which we planted just two months after moving in. It has been a huge success. We’ve used vegetables and herbs from the garden in so many meals, both for our family and for events we host. Several times a year I welcome children from the community to the Mansion to help plant the garden. Healthy eating is an important part of reducing and preventing childhood obesity."