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In a kindergarten classroom in Southern Maine, sixty children sit with rapt attention. They watch as their much-beloved instructor, Kathy Gunst, shows off local and exotic fruits.  It is “smoothie day” at school: Kathy and her team have committed to teaching kids about the value of fresh food.

She calls out, “Who can tell me what this is?”  She holds up and apple and all of the children’s hands go up.  She picks another fruit, “Now what is THIS one?”  It is a mango:less than two hands are raised. Testament to both the fruit’s lack of abundance in the northern states and a hint towards the need for exposure.

Kathy has made it her mission as a Renaissance food lover (she is a lauded chef, award-winning author and radio show host) to plant an interest and understanding about food within her community. She regularly teaches in the Berwick, Maine school district and tailors her lessons to each age group.

“With the kindergarteners, we do simple thing like smoothies and combine flavor, education and preparation techniques. With this older kids, we have a hoop house and grow the food we cook.  We have made things like Swiss Chard enchiladas with the third-graders. We teach them proper knife skills. We celebrate at the end of each school year with  school-wide garden feast,” says Gunst.

Her classes are popular with kids and parent volunteers alike. She is the consummate teacher: a food professional who shares her passion and dedication with the younger generations.

Kathy is proud to be part of the #livelovefood campaign.  She would love for you to share and tag your photos with #livelovefood and to follow her on Twitter @mainecook. Her book, “Notes from a Maine Kitchen” is part of the prize package.

Kathy Gunst

Here’s a bit of background on Kathy:

Kathy Gunst is the author of 14 cookbooks.  Her most recent cookbook is, “Notes from a Maine Kitchen.” She is the resident chef for National Public Radio’s award-winning, “Here and Now” heard on over 400 public radio stations.

Kathy has received 2 James Beard Award Nominations for her radio work.  Her cookbooks have received numerous IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) award nominations.  She writes for the Washington Post, Newsweek, Yankee, Modern Farmer, the New York Times, Down East and more. Kathy was invited to the White House by Michelle Obama to learn about the First Lady’s healthy foods initiative called, “Let’s Move.”

Kathy recently presented her 1st TEDX Piscataqua talk entitled, “From the Ground Up!

Kathy Gunst Website

Kristin Fuhrmann-Simmons #livelovefood