Flour Head Bakery & Webb School of Knoxville fight childhood obesity

Since the beginning of the 2012 school year, Flour Head Bakery has been supplying Webb School of Knoxville with an assortment of freshly baked bread and bagels for school lunches.

Sodexo, a provider of programs for school lunches, including the school lunch program at Webb, has long been a supporter of local purchasing as well as healthy dining standards. This new school year, Sodexo has partnered with Flour Head Bakery to offer new and exciting items to the Webb School campus. “Healthy eating, exercise, and knowing what we eat each day will help us all stay healthy a lot longer,” said Brian Newell, Sodexo’s General Manager.

Webb and Sodexo have embraced the national trend of purchasing local goods and produce to meet the needs of their customers. Additionally, in keeping with new federal nutrition standards required in public schools, Sodexo and Webb want to ensure that Webb’s campus population also eats healthier and consumes less trans fats, sodium and calories in their school meals while encouraging them to add more whole grains to their diets.

“With childhood obesity on the rise, and parents’ busy lives, it is really important that the meal children receive at school be as healthy as possible,” said Mahasti Vafaie, owner of Flour Head Bakery and The Tomato Head. “By providing freshly baked Flour Head bread to Webb, we were able to reduce the amount of high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils that children are consuming.”

Flour Head Bakery delivers daily an assortment of fresh wheat and white sandwich bread, wheat hamburger and hot dog buns, as well as plain, cinnamon raisin and blueberry bagels at Webb. Vafaie adds, “We use unbleached and unbromated flour milled in North Carolina. So we are eliminating a suspected carcinogen while reducing our carbon footprint.”

Episcopal School of Knoxville’s Mac-n-Cheese!

The Episcopal School of Knoxville (ESK) decided they could have healthier kids and a better lunch program if they converted a portion of their farm-like acreage and turned it into actual farm. Headmaster Jay Secor and Head Chef, Renee Nye (along with many others from ESK) have been collaborating with Mahasti, founder and co-owner of The Tomato Head, to revamp their school’s food program. The results have not only been delicious, but inspiring.

Secor and Nye joined Mahasti on WBIR this morning as she presented The Episcopal School of Knoxville’s Mac-n-Cheese recipe, and together they shared more of the ESK story. The school truly took a “soup to nuts” approach as they assessed and changed their program—converting acreage into gardens and space for chickens, committing to buying local as much as possible, even baking bread from scratch and preparing food to order. The focus of the food at ESK is now on freshness, taste, and healthiness.

“It can seem overwhelming at first,” noted Mahasti, speaking of the changes and new approaches she introduced to ESK. “But it’s actually easier than everyone thinks. And it’s so much better for the school and the children.” Secor and Nye proudly agree.

In fact, the consultation process that Mahasti provided went so well, she’s excited about working with other schools who may be interested in developing a healthier food program. And most kids are thrilled to know they’re school lunch has a Tomato Head touch.

Of course, Mac-n-Cheese is a much beloved dish for many kids. ESK students love the new version they get to eat in their dining hall, and Mahasti shared the school’s recipe this morning on WBIR.

(In addition, both the Maryville & Knoxville restaurants will be serving a very special take on this Mac-n-Cheese recipe today. It’s very different, but once you try it, you’ll swear by it—this delicious mac-n-cheese on a pizza topped with Benton’s Bacon and Roasted Onion. Unforgettable yum.)

Episcopal School’s Macaroni and Cheese

For the White Sauce:
4 oz unsalted butter
2 oz flour
4 cups Cruze Farm milk
1 cup heavy cream
1.5 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

In a large skillet, or medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk constantly until no more lumps remain. Add remaining ingredients and whisk constantly until sauce thickens.

Yields 5 cups

To assemble Macaroni and Cheese:
3 cups Sweet Water Valley Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 cup heavy cream
1 box Barilla Plus Elbow pasta, cooked according to package directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place cooked pasta in a large bowl. Add cheese, heavy cream and 4 cups of the white sauce to the bowl and mix until well incorporated. Save remaining sauce for later use.

Place macaroni and cheese in a 3 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with some additional shredded cheese.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until dish is bubbling and cheese has melted. Remove from oven and allow macaroni and cheese to sit for 5 minutes and serve.

Serves 8 – 10

If serving fewer than 8 people the recipe can be followed up to the point of placing the macaroni and cheese in a baking dish. You may place as much of the mixture as desired in a smaller baking dish, baking only what is needed, saving the remainder of the mixture for baking the next day.

© 2016 The Tomato Head Site by: Robin Easter Design