As part of its efforts to promote health and wellness, insurance provider Aetna on Sept. 1 launched the Aetna Healthy Food Fight. The 10-city tour, developed with chefs from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), kicked off with an employee event at Aetna’s corporate headquarters in Hartford, CT, that featured an appearance by celebrity chef Bobby Flay.
Flay, looking cool and trim in a dark suit and Wayfarer sunglasses, wowed the crowd of about 150 Aetna employees who had gathered despite record heat in the parking lot where six of their coworkers engaged in a cook-off to determine the company’s “Healthiest Chef.” Employees from Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New York and South Carolina, whose recipes were chosen from 205 entries submitted by fellow Aetna workers, cooked up turkey burgers, whole-wheat vegetable lasagna, papaya soup and other dishes at individual stations as the crowd looked on. Later in the day, Flay told the packed Aetna auditorium how he shed 15 pounds by taking up running and reducing portions. Remote employees watched the presentation via a live video feed.
From Hartford, the tour traveled to New Jersey’s Rockaway Townsquare (Sept. 4) and the Rutherford Labor Day Street Fair (Sept. 6). It will go to the Kennett Square Mushroom Festival in Philadelphia (Sept. 11-12), San Antonio’s Riverwalk (Oct. 2-3) and seven additional stops before the finals in Los Angeles on Nov. 18. A Facebook page and Twitter presence extend the experience online.
Consumers can submit recipes to healthyfoodfight.com. Chefs from The CIA will screen recipes and select 40 entrants for each of the 10 regional events. Local finalists will cook their creation live and be judged by The CIA chefs, a celebrity chef and local VIPs. One winner per market will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the finals, which will be judged by Flay. The national winner will receive a $10,000 package of KitchenAid appliances, courtesy of Lowe’s and Whirlpool. Consumers also can enter a sweepstakes to win a 10-piece set of Circulon cookware (Agency: G2, New York City).