Cafe Blackbird reinvents the summer camp food menu – think fresh, healthy and local!

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Owners Chris & Michelle + Cliff, Head Chef of Cafe Blackbird (9640-142 ST)

Let’s face it, lots of summer camp food is tasty, but pretty gross for your child’s health. We’re talking hot dogs, fries and greasy pizza. That’s why we love Cafe Blackbird. We’ve partnered with the local hot spot in Edmonton’s Crestwood neighbourhood to supply our lunches.

Cliff, the head chef at the cafe, knows all about the huge role good food plays in fuelling kids for a day of fun and play. Cliff has 22 years experience in the food industry, from working in hospitals to restaurants.

He gets that summer camp is all about fun, but he’s got a plan to make sure kids learn that eating local food can taste good too …yes, it’s possible. 

“I try to be creative with what I call my meals,” he says. Cliff says sometimes he sneaks healthier alternatives into his meals, but he also goes out of his way to make sure kids know they can eat like this at home. 

“They need to know that they can go to the grocery store and get good local food that tastes good instead of picking up something in a bright package in the frozen food aisle,” said Cliff. “That they can make those things from scratch using local ingredients.”

Local ingredients play a large part in Cliff’s food creations and it’s something that he’s very fond of. Growing up in the Arctic, Cliff didn’t have access to fresh food as we do in Edmonton and with limited resources he grew up on a lot of powdered milk and canned vegetables.

“After coming to Edmonton, I remember going to the grocery store and being so excited over all of the choices and possibilities,” Cliff recalls.

Free Footie is all about building healthy and activity kids by having fun playing soccer. This summer, Footie Camp is an extension of that where we are not only offering more time on the pitch, but also adding healthy eating. We now the importance good food plays in building a strong child and so does Cliff.

“I wanted to get involved with Free Footie because of the community aspect, and that’s exactly what I want to get out of this experience,” said Cliff. “When I heard about the program through Cafe Blackbird, I knew I just had to get involved.”

The million dollar question, however, is what’s on the menu for the upcoming camps?

How does a Mac and Cheese dish with a melon ball dessert sound to you?

Check out the camp pages to learn more and register your child.

Camp not for you or your kids? Help send one of our Free Footie kids to camp by donating here.

Special thanks to Jill Horbay for the help writing this article!