Food Stamp Challenge: Chef Jamie McFadden

Chef Jamie McFadden Chef Jamie McFadden from Cuisiners
Executive Chef/Founder Cuisiniers Catered Cuisine & Events
Challenge Day: September 20, 2012

Short bio: Chef Jamie’s “Fresh Approach” Cooking style and attention to detail has proven to be the perfect ingredients in creating a very exciting and successful career path. In 1990 he began to build his reputation as an award winning chef working at various high profile restaurants including his own restaurant, Mimi’s Café & Wine Bar. In 1998 he founded Cuisiniers Catered Cuisine & Events and just celebrated 14 years in creating unforgettable events. In early 2011 Jamie introduced Central Floridians to his version of a tasting bar with his “bar J me” concept. To date this experience has received high marks in the press. In September 2011, the Orlando Sentinel stated “barJme reinvents chef table” and “dinner at the kitchen counter may never be the same”. In 2007, Restaurant Forum named Chef Jamie one of Central Florida’s Top 20 Chef’s. He is the only caterer to receive this award. Most recently, The Orlando Business Journal named Jamie one of Orlando’s “40 Under 40” which recognizes the rising young professionals who are shaping the economy of Central Florida.

  • Why did you join the SNAP Challenge? I joined the SNAP challenge to better educate myself with the SNAP program and gain understanding of the guidelines and restrictions the participants endure.
  • What was your experience with food shopping? Was $6.67 enough for an entire day?  I shopped in the morning when the store was the least busy and planned some of my purchases around items that could be split into multiple meals. Like the eggs, broccoli and chicken for example. I only used a portion on this day. Yes$
  • Did you eat well on the SNAP Challenge? How did you feel? I felt very well and satisfied after each meal. I specifically choose to buy fresh fruits and vegetables with my $ 6.67 budget.
  • What kind of meals did you eat/prepare? The meals I prepared were simple yet healthy. For breakfast I had oatmeal with nuts and berries in the package and a banana. For lunch a fried egg (2 eggs) sandwich and an apple. For a snack I had a pomegranate Greek yogurt. Dinner was 4oz of chicken breast, one  sweet potato and broccoli. I consumed water with all my meals.
  • What was the most difficult thing you faced during the SNAP Challenge? The most difficult aspect of the SNAP challenge was how time consuming it was to shop while reading all the labels and prices. I was trying to stay within budget and create healthy balanced meals. I was trying to use the $6.67 budget to fulfill the food pyramid guidelines as well. The preparation for me was not a challenge, considering I am a chef, but I can see how much more time consuming it can be for an individual or especially a parent to find time to cook beans and rice from scratch to make the budget stretch the farthest.
  • Do you have any additional thoughts or comments about living for a day on a SNAP budget? The only other additional comments I have about living on a SNAP budget are; first, I am glad our government provides a way for those individuals who need assistance to get it. With my limited knowledge of the SNAP and WIC guidelines of which foods are acceptable, it seems the WIC  program is creating a more balanced meal planning system/guideline. Second, It seems to me if the only certain food items are allowed to be purchased it would a much easier process for the consumers if they had specific SNAP/WIC stores which included only eligible products, including fresh fruits and vegetables.  But also included seconds and thirds of items like the Sacks Outlets. Lastly, I am happy to hear a “rumor” that the city of Winter Park has asked for the farmers market to accept SNAP benefits.


Click here to read more about Second Harvest’s Food Stamp Challenge >>






Author: Maria Shanley

Senior Digital Marketing Manager Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

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