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Chicago Public Schools Celebrate National School Lunch Week with Rachael Ray’s Yum-o! Windy City Chicken

October 16, 2011  • 

(Chicago, IL) — On October 12, 2011, Chicago Public School students will enjoy a special meal: Rachael Ray’s Yum-o! Windy City Chicken. In celebration of National School Lunch Week, October 10-14, Rachael Ray and her Yum-o! organization, Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Chartwells-Thompson and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), have teamed up to develop this great tasting meal for Chicago students.

"I had so much fun creating this recipe with CPS," said Rachael Ray. "I chose ingredients from their wide variety of spices and seasonings as well as other fresh and local options. I tried to create a recipe that would capture the cultural diversity of Chicago and most importantly, that the kids would love to eat." 

This delicious new menu also features Rachael Ray’s Sweet & Spicy Baked Beans and Orange Glazed Carrots. "I’m thrilled that we will be serving Rachael Ray’s Yum-o! Windy City Chicken in the elementary and high schools where Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality provides food service management – more than 450 in all," said Bob Bloomer, regional vice president of Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality. The meal will be served twice a month.

View McPherson Elementary school students’ feedback on their experience with the new meal!

Check out the USDA’s blog about this ground-breaking partnership!

Yum-o! has also adapted the recipes for home cooking so that kids and their families can taste the possibilities.

The theme of this year’s National School Lunch Week is "School Lunch – Let’s Grow Healthy" and places special emphasis on Farm to School efforts. CPS, through its primary food provider, Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality, has the largest farm to school program in the Midwest, with more than $2.5 million in fruits and vegetables purchased from regional growers and producers. The carrots used for this special menu are one of the items in CPS’s well-known frozen local program. They were grown within 250 miles of Chicago, picked at their peak ripeness and flash frozen to preserve their fresh-tasting flavor.

Chicago Public Schools ensures that it school nutrition programs benefit the health and wellness of students. Nutrition standards are designed to exceed the USDA’s Gold Standard of the HealthierUS School Challenge Guidelines. Each day, whole grains, fresh fruit and a different vegetable are offered to students. Currently, more than 116 schools have salad bars.

USDA Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon said, "Farm to school activities not only inject fresh, locally-produced food into school meals programs, but also provide small farmers with new marketing opportunities and school children with the chance to learn about how food is produced and harvested for consumption."

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 Thompson Hospitality
With over 2,500 employees, Thompson Hospitality is one of the largest minority owned businesses in the United States and the largest minority owned foodservice company in the world.  For more information about Thompson Hospitality, visit

About Rachael Ray
Rachael Ray is best known as the host of the hit syndicated Emmy Award winning daytime television show, Rachael Ray, produced by CBS Television Distribution in association with Harpo Productions, Scripps Networks and Watch Entertainment. Rachael’s warmth, energy and boundless curiosity also reaches scores of fans through her popular Food Network shows, bestselling cookbooks, her own line of cookware created by Meyer, knives by Furitechnics, signature food ingredients by Colavita and lifestyle magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray. In 2007, Rachael launched the Yum-o! organization, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking. In 2008, she partnered with Ainsworth Pet Nutrition to create a line of pet food, of which all her proceeds are donated to organizations that help animals in need. For more information, visit

About the Yum-o! Organization

Yum-o!® is Rachael Ray’s nonprofit organization that empowers kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking by teaching families to cook, feeding hungry kids and funding cooking education and scholarships. By providing the tools to create easy, affordable and delicious meals, Yum-o! is changing the way America eats. For more information about the Yum-o! organization, please visit

Media Contacts
Charlie Dougiello
Rachael Ray
Ph: (201) 424-6058
[email protected]

Jean Saunders                                                       
Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality
Ph: (773) 722-4964                                              
[email protected]