The James Beard Foundation Partners with the Clinton Foundation to Launch America Cooks with Chefs: The 800 Calorie Challenge

Two influential nonprofits create cooking competition to promote the power of healthy eating in America

New York, NY (January 14, 2014) – Today the James Beard Foundation (JBF) announced a new partnership with the Clinton Foundation to launch America Cooks with Chefs: The 800 Calorie Challenge, an innovative cooking competition that focuses on healthy eating and nutrition for American home cooks. This collaborative program is being facilitated by managing partner Palisades Media Ventures (PMV) in a creative effort to tackle rising obesity rates and nutrition-induced illnesses on a national scale.

“We all know that today’s families, whether they are single parents, retirees or young couples, want to eat better but often don’t know how. The goal of this multi-phase program and contest is to help educate and inspire people to cook healthier under the guidance of award-winning chefs,” said Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation. “Our Foundation’s annual Food Conference, American Chef Corps, author lecture series and James Beard Awards are some of the ways we champion an interest in American culinary culture, nutrition, and eating well. We’re excited about pairing some of America’s best chefs with everyday Americans to teach families how to cook healthy and delicious meals.”

America Cooks with Chefs: The 800 Calorie Challenge will pair six lucky contestants with celebrity chef “trainers,” including James Beard Award winners Tony Mantuano and Mary Sue Milliken of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. An online video series will feature an episode with each duo as they take part in an intense one-day “cooking well kitchen camp,” working together to redesign a recipe around healthy nutritional guidelines without sacrificing taste or presentation.

The contestants will get to attend the 2015 Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI) conference in La Quinta, California. They will bring their new skills to a live cooking challenge at the conference, where a panel of celebrity judges will select a winner. The winning recipe will be the best nutrient-dense meal under 800 calories, created in one hour using only ingredients provided. Details on entering will be available at A robust social media program will also be instituted, including the creation of a Twitter platform @AmericaCooks and #800Calories.

“The Clinton Health Matters Initiative is delighted to partner with the James Beard Foundation on this new educational program to increase consumer awareness about how to improve a family’s diet,” says Ginny Ehrlich, Chief Executive Officer of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative at the Clinton Foundation. “America Cooks with Chefs: The 800 Calorie Challenge is a key contribution to activating wellness in every generation. We look forward to empowering families with the essential ingredients to cook and eat healthier, and we are thrilled to be hosting the live challenge next year at our annual conference.”

About the James Beard Foundation:

Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation’s mission is to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, James Beard, who died in 1985, was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts, instilling in them the value of wholesome, healthful and delicious food. Today the Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships for culinary students, publications, chef advocacy training, and thought-leader convening. The Foundation also maintains the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. In September of 2012, the Foundation launched the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Protocol and helped create the American Chef Corps as a way to champion American chefs abroad, promote American food products and foster an interest in American culinary culture and history through international programs and initiatives. For more information, please visit Find insights on food at the James Beard Foundation’s blog Delights & Prejudices. “Like” the James Beard Foundation on Facebook. Follow the James Beard Foundation on Twitter and Instagram.

About Clinton Health Matters Initiative:

The Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI) works to improve the health and wellbeing of all people by activating individuals, communities, and organizations to make meaningful contributions to the health of others. The goals of CHMI are to reduce the prevalence of preventable health outcomes, close health inequity and disparity gaps, and reduce health care costs by improving access to key contributors to health for all people.

About Palisades Media Ventures:

Palisades Media Ventures is an innovative media development company with a focus on public affairs, thought leadership and creating a new level of partnership between our clients and the world’s leading news organizations or strategic partners. We specialize in taking major public policy issues and framing innovative productions that advance conversations among thought leaders, senior policy makers, and the public. Our media content projects resonate through events, newspaper articles, special sections, television programming and digital projects. We develop content projects that support the thought leadership objectives of our clients, including: live town halls, documentary series, unscripted television programming and interactive digital and social media projects.
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