Dallas restaurant schools youngsters about healthy eating

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on May 15, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 15 at 5:39 PM

DALLAS — Making and eating a soufflé is as foreign to Williams Prepartory School students as the chef's French accent.

Rise No. 1 bistro on Lovers Lane is helping teach kids the joy of cooking — and eating food that doesn't come out of a bag.

"So that no only are you eating something that's tasteful... it's celebratory. And it's good for you. And it's fresh," explained restaurant owner Hedda Dowd.

That's a new concept for many of these youngsters who were raised on fast food.

Rise No. 1 makes the most of a small garden built on the sidewalk, and encourages kids to do the same at home.

At Williams Prep, the restaurant is sponsoring a school garden this year, where students are tending their own fruits and vegetables.

"Most of the kids — being inner-city kids — have never seen many things growing before," explained dean of instruction Judy Meyer.

It's making a difference for students struggling with their weight, according to students themselves.

"We've become very healthy," said seventh-grader Irma Zamarripa. "Now — instead of the percentage increasing — it's decreasing, really."

Because of their contact with the restaurant, students are exposed to food beyond the norm. On this day, they ate blueberry soufflé, artichokes, and mushroom soup.

"It's good!" said one student who had never tried food like it.

Rise No. 1 is also teaching youngsters about the community of dinner — that the experience of sharing food is different than eating on the run.

Rise is hoping other restaurants will take on the challenge to teach youth that real food doesn't come from a drive-thru.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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