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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

from sous chef to star tours

so as provisional members of the junior league, it was our responsibility to plan, budget for, and execute an event dedicated to educating 4th-6th graders about healthy eating habits and offering fitness tips. it's called "kids in the kitchen," and it's our way of pulling a jamie oliver and attacking the issue of childhood obesity in our local area. after months of planning and preparing and begging for donations and doing our best to attract attendees on a shoestring budget, the big day was finally here. we gathered at the armory center for the arts in pasadena bright and early on saturday morning:

busted out our "welcome" sign:

and rolled out the red carpet for our "brown bag rock stars" themed extravaganza.

a local gymnastics center came and outfitted one of the front rooms for the kids to go through a fun obstacle course.

the main room we'd been given to use was big, bright, and airy. there was lots of space for us to set up and get ready for the kids - 75 of 'em, plus their parents or caregivers.

with my non-fruit-eating self, i found it comically ironic that my task for the morning largely involved chopping watermelons and peeling and slicing oranges. my recently acquired orange supreme-ing skills came in quite handy as i skipped the tedious task of regular ol' peeling and sliced the peels and rinds right off. all the fruit was going to be placed at a station for the kids to create fruit skewers to snack on.

the station next to me, manned by students at the nearby le cordon bleu culinary academy (brother wan's alma mater!), was frantically washing and chopping lettuce, tomatoes, and sliced turkey for another healthy eating stop.

of course, there was a table with snacks and coffee for the grown-ups, too.

there was quite a flurry of activity as these ladies got to work slicing up the various recipe pages for the kids to choose their favorite recipes and create their own cookbook.

i barely found time to snap a self-portrait. it's pretty bad, but whatever. i didn't have time for another one. and i was grateful that my friend winnie had volunteered to come and take pictures at the event - i'm sure she got much better shots than i did, and hopefully she got her camera whore friend in a few, too.

attendees started showing up right at 10. we were excited to see the kids come and enjoy the, uh, fruits of our labor.

and all the stations were finally, miraculously ready for them, too.

supermodel from the late 90s and early 2000s josie maran was one of our celebrity guests. one of our provisionals is her assistant at her cosmetics company, and even though it was her birthday, she graciously committed to appearing at our little event to speak to everyone.

the food, as predicted, was a big draw.

i'm kind of embarrassed to admit that i had no idea who our NFL player was - he came to show the kids some easy workout tips. he does personal training on the off-season, and one of our provisionals works out with him regularly. he asked the first kid who approached him, decked out in a football jersey, who his favorite players were. as he named off a few (not including the guy standing right in front of him, which i found hilarious), mr. NFL pulled out his phone and attempted to call one whose number he happened to have. it didn't work, but the kid walked away more impressed than when he showed up.

it was already getting pretty crowded and it wasn't even 10:30 yet. this was fantastic, because as of only a few days prior, we'd only had ONE child signed up. talk about lighting a fire under our asses - we had a slight freak-out and got to work on spreading the word. luckily, our 11th-hour efforts paid off.

our league president picked up the microphone and delivered a quick welcome speech before introducing ms. maran and inviting her to come up for her speech.

she was quick to correct the pronunciation of her name ("it's MAR-an, not mar-AN"), and then launched into her spiel about becoming more eco-conscious and saving the planet. she held up her daughter's lunch box, a cute reusable "laptop lunch," and implored every parent to pick one up for their kids. i may not have been sold, but at least i can say i pack the teen's lunch in an environmentally-friendly bag that i made myself, even. heh.

her daughter was present, too, and turned to check her mom out as she realized that her lunch box had made an appearance at this shindig.

after ms. MAR-an's speech was over, it was time for me to bounce outta there. my shift was over, and i had to get home to pack for our big weekend at disneyland for the teen's birthday.

funny how i started my day chopping fruit and then ended it damn near losing my dinner on the astro blasters ride. heh. more on that later.


  1. Looks like an awesome event!

    Gymnastikids is where Diego took classes!

  2. congrats on the great turn out!

  3. 1) I'm kinda embarrassed for that NFL player. A nickel says he balled out whoever he called later for making him look like a chump in front of the kid. In other news, I'm going to pretend to have a whole slew of famous people in my phone that "don't answer" when I ring them up.

    2) I'm a HUGE fan of laptop lunches - but not the price tag. Even with the 15% discount. So I use a similar (cheaper) product for our lunches.

  4. Looks like the event was a great success! Am I turning into an old crotchety lady or is Ms. MARan's outfit a bit revealing for a kiddy event?

  5. I will never understand how that beautiful woman was with creepy David Blaine.

  6. Looks like it was a fun event and a huge success!


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