One of the pioneers of the movement to feed kids better in their schools, Chef Bobo, a/k/a Robert Surles, has reeducated the palettes of more than 10,000 kids in grades 2 through 12 for the past 14 years. Working at the Calhoun School on New York’s Upper West Side, he also teaches courses in Food Politics and Food Activism to high school students. Cooking natural and healthy food that features bold flavors and good nutrition is the cornerstone of his menu plan. Everything is made from scratch everyday with the freshest of ingredients, most of which come from local farms. His goal is to develop young palates toward understanding real food so that eating well becomes a lifelong skill.
Along the way Chef Bobo has counseled about 70 schools across the country on changing their lunch programs and has placed 6 of his former chefs in schools to head lunch programs similar to the model at Calhoun. His cook book, Chef Bobo’s Good Food Cookbook (Meredith, 2005), which features many of the recipes he serves at Calhoun, contains over 140 kid-friendly recipes and advice on getting the whole family involved with meal preparation.
Prior to launching his lunch program at Calhoun, Chef Bobo has served as the Chef and Owner of Chef Bobo & Associates Catering and was the personal chef for the former New York Yankees Captain Derek Jeter. He has cooked for several celebrities, including Ben Stiller, and is the Executive Chef of Harry Connick, Jr.’s Krewe of Orpheus, a New Orleans Mardi Gras club.
He is a graduate of the FCI’s culinary program. His relationship with the FCI (now known as the International Culinary Center, ICC), where he taught for 2 years, continues as he sits on the board of Friends of the International Culinary Center as Chairman of their Scholarship Committee.
Chef Bobo is on the Advisory Board for Spoons Across America, the source for children’s culinary education dedicated to educating children, teachers, and families about the benefits of healthy eating.
Since our founding in 2001, Spoons Across America® has developed a holistic nutrition-based curriculum, for 1st through 5th grades, to ensure that children are empowered to make healthy eating choices. Today, our programs, Spoons Food Explorers, Farm to Book®, Take a Taste with Spoons, Spoons Recipe Days, The Dinner Party Project®, and Spoons Summer Recipe Days, awaken and inspire a lifelong passion in children to explore smarter, more nutritious, and more diverse food choices. We are dedicated to improving children’s relationship with food so that they may enjoy the benefits of healthier bodies, healthier lives, healthier families, and healthier communities.
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630 Ninth Avenue, Suite 212
New York, NY 10036
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