The Parisian-born marketing exec founded Real Food for Real Kids, an “edu-catering” company that not only brings delicious, nutritious lunches to schools, but also teaches students to savour them.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN:
As a girl, Cohen-Farnell spent her weekends in her grandmothers’ kitchens. “That was my playtime,” she says. “Experimenting with spices like curry and sage. Baking my own croissants.” Her early experiences fostered a love of fresh, healthy cuisine. So imaging her shock when, after moving to Toronto, she discovered her son’s daycare offered only processed food.
THE TURNING POINT:
Aware that “kid foods” like nuggets, fries and fish sticks contain fats and fillers that merely disguise the taste of their best ingredients, she began packing her son’s lunches – anything from organic pears to tofu and hormone-free meat. Very soon, Maxime’s playmates were asking for a taste. And then the caregivers asked her to organize a healthy snack menu. “Surprisingly, instead of turning up their noses, those kids were gobbling up specialties like zucchini bread and French cheese,” Cohen-Farnell says.
WHAT SHE DID NEXT:
In 2005, she opened a kitchen, staffed it with a chef, nutritionist and driver, and set to work creating snack and lunch programs that now serve 60 daycares and two schools. She also runs food education workshops for teachers, parents and kids.
WHAT THEY GET OUT OF IT:
“My son, Ethan, was such a picky eater,” says Toronto mom Martha Angus. “Now he comes home with excited reports: ‘Mom, I eat quinoa now! Mom, I love apple butter!'”
WHAT SHE GETS OUT OF IT:
“The best part is when parents call, desperate to learn how to make dishes like teriyaki salmon,” Cohen-Farnell says. “Then I know I’ve made an impact.” -Randi Chapnik Myers[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”6394″ img_size=”579×800″][/vc_column][/vc_row]