NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- A New Haven school chef is on her way to the White House.
Chef Cheryl Barbara works at the High School In The Community, but she'll soon make a cameo at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
"Very excited. More excited than nervous," she said.
Cool as a cucumber, or at least a pepper, and with the chops to prove it. Barbara is on her way to Washington after taking top spot on Food Network's show, "Chopped."
"One of the judges there was Sam Cass, who is the executive chef to the White House, and that night, after the show he promised us all that he was inviting us all as guests, his guests, to the White House," she said.
She's a long-time champion of First Lady Michelle Obama's initiatives
"'Share Our Strength: No Kid Hungry' and the 'Let's Move' campaign are the two best things I've ever seen in the city, in the school systems, in all my years," Barbara said.
And a nice ingredient when you're trying to serve up a message.
"I just hope that she's able to talk about how there is hunger in Connecticut and states like Connecticut," said Dawn Crayco from End Hunger Connecticut. "We are experiencing issues with hunger and not being able to purchase enough food."
Yes, even in affluent Connecticut, one in five households can't afford proper nourishment. But Barbara has pioneered her own idea, and she doesn't mind other schools and cities plagiarizing.
"I have a backpack program that I do on the weekends for kids that do not have food on the weekends or do not have food for school vacations, and they will come to you and tell you, and that's heartbreaking," she said.
But for the moment, a feel-good story has some 250 students giving compliments to the chef.
Barbara leaves for Washington on Thursday for a four-day, three-night stay, and a first of many different kinds.
"Tomorrow morning at 9:30, first time flying," she said.
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