LTHS Class of 1973 graduates Chris and Susan (Murphy) Muth recently spent a morning on Skype with two Advanced Culinary Arts classes

Lyons Township High School Class of 1973 graduates Chris and Susan (Murphy) Muth recently spent a morning on Skype with two Advanced Culinary Arts classes at South Campus discussing the acquisition and expansion of their company, McCabe’s Granola. Having doubled sales each year since buying the company in 2011 and increased placement 10-fold, the product is on grocery shelves across the country. It began in just one dozen boutique stores and is now in thousands of stores nationwide and online.
The Muths discussed the McCabe’s Granola company, how they came to own it, what skills are needed to run the business and what it’s like to own a food business. Students taste tested all five granola varieties and asked questions about the granola, recipes and marketing.
The students will use the information to complete a Food Truck project as a culminating project to end the semester. Students will be tasked with designing a food truck for McCabe’s and a dish inspired by the company and their mission. They will create logos and Facebook posts as a way of marketing. The winning student will be featured on the McCabe website and will win a prize.
Foods teacher Kate Mitchell said, “It’s not every day that graduates come forward so able and willing to share their story and successes with us in a classroom. This real life business is a great platform for learning about the food industry.”
CEO Susan Muth challenged students to read every label of every product they eat in a day. “There are so many preservatives and chemicals in food, what we eat is almost unrecognizable,” Muth said. McCabe’s granola is an all-natural cereal made of rolled oats, sunflower seeds, cashews, ground flax seeds, raisins, pumpkin seeds and almonds. The granola is sweetened with 100 percent maple syrup. After reading the ingredients of a granola bar in her backpack, sophomore Nora Blake, of Western Springs, promptly threw it in the garbage and said she thought she was eating something healthy.
Beyond donating product and visiting via Skype, the Muth family has set up a $500 scholarship for a graduating senior who is interested in the food business, especially organic and natural foods.