Sam Kass is uniquely qualified to discuss the link between food and education in his childhood nutrition talk; he is a former White House Chef who has become a food policymaker, and thus has an intimate knowledge of both fine dining and food as a public resource.
Though food and learning might seem to have a tenuous connection, the two concepts are far more intertwined than they appear at first blush. Kass boils it down to asking the right questions -- questions like, "What is the connection between a child's growing mind and her growing body?" Framed in such a way, the connection between nutrition and education is essential.
Even in the most direct sense, hunger can block out learning. Kass talks about judging a reality TV show called 'Chopped' that featured school chefs for his episode. Though the secret ingredient was quinoa, one of the contestants insisted on making pasta, with the justification being that Mondays (the day on which the episode was filmed) are the days when kids are most hungry, having not eaten anything all weekend. Pasta is a guaranteed hit with kids, and being full allows them to focus on class rather than on hunger pains.