The event, "Cooking up Change" organized by the Healthy Schools Campaign was a show of young talent, passion and fabulous food creations. Healthy Schools Campaign is a Chicago based, independent not for profit organization. Their guiding philosophy is, "Every child deserves a Healthy School." This overarching philosophy guides all they do. Another guiding philosophy is that Leaders make a critical connection between learning and health. Lastly, helping students to lead healthier more informed adult lives. It was a pleasure to meet and discuss HSC with Rochelle Davis, President and CEO of Healthy Schools Campaign. She pointed out how every CPS is well ahead of the new standards of nutritional requirements and every student is guaranteed a healthy meal and a healthier school. The winning dishes served tonight, will actually become a part the CPS menu. These recipes have been tried and tested. The parameters are tight for the competition. The students only have $1.00 to work with and limited ingredient possibilities to create the nutritionally correct student lunch. Judging criteria listed below. Working with real world circumstances with real world challenges, these students learn life skills of teamwork, healthier eating and a valuable career skill to take with them after graduation. Not only that, students have made connections and built a network within the culinary, legistlative and business world. Each student has their own Mentor Chef, who is a successful Chef in their own right. Over the last 7 years, HSC has become an industry authority and a advocacy voice for students and parents, as well as for those with a passion about our children, education and our environment. These students have the opportunity to cook for the legislature in DC, as well as have their voices heard! Rochelle and I discussed how excited she is that 9 cities are now participating in the program. In addition to Chicago, Houston, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Memphis, Orlando, Wichita, Orange County, CA and Winston-Salem are all participating. The most rewarding part of Rochelle's efforts are when she sees a former student of the program who has gone to college and started their career, come back to the program to become a Mentor. She has seen the circle complete.
These young adults have made a serious commitment to this program. It take a great deal of effort, patients, creativity and years of dedication to listening and learning to be a part of this program. Clearly the highest of standards have been set for these students. I really enjoyed talking with the students and gaining their perspective. From wanting to make culinary their career and it means everything to them , to being absolutely honored to be on the team. I spoke with Santana, a sophomore. He discussed how honored he was to be chosen for his creativity at such a young age. These students were passionate, fun, and took great pride in their food, presentation and customer service. Every bite I tasted was good. Never too salty, too sweet or boring texturally. Wonderful job done by all. The Judging Criteria was as follows:
Originality 10 points Rate the Originality and creativity of the school lunch menu
Taste 20 points Are the items seasoned correctly? Is there a balance between the main dish and the two side dishes? Is there a variety of textures? Does it taste good? Would you order It?
Appearance 10 points Does it look appetizing? Is there a variety of natural colors? Is the tray neatly plated?
Presentation 10 points Did the team give an articulate, well planned presentation?
The First Place winners of the night were:
Chicago Vocational Career Academy (CVCA)!
The winning meal was Curry Chicken, Carribean Garden Salad and Plantains
Culinary Students: Khiya Harris, Linda Jones, Shawlawn Kelly, Mallory Montgomery, Jordan Rhodes and Destiny Roan
David Fuller and Gloria Simpson
Monica Hayes, Tasteful Manners
Best Presentation (new award this year) - Simeon Career Academy
Kirsten Colbert, Darrell Crawford, Ruthie Elridge,
Deshonia Garrett, Justin Purnell
Kimberly Kirchner, The Chopping Block
Third Place - Roosevelt High School
Dion Bell, Norberto Flores, Daisy Gomez, Jamine Huerta,
Aaron Lofton, Juan Zavala
Michael Marren, Matt Satow
Renee Gabet, Sur la Table
Second Place - Prosser Career Academy
Kwan Brown, Miriam Chavez, Richard Dominquez, Itzel
Flores, Christian Popoca, Anabel Ruiz
Culinary Instructor: David Kulasik
Mickey Neeley, Scofflaw
With 800 guests, the night was a great success. The check for $54,000 from Aramark as a donation, was a great surprise and had the crowd cheering. A silent auction and raffle rounded out the evening.
So many in support of this effort. It would not have been possible without the support of Aramark and Preferred Meals. As well, a few of their partners are James Beard Foundation, Southwest Airlines and the PEW Charitable Trust. "From the kitchen to the classroom, Cooking up Change empowers students to take an active role in their health and wellness," says Amy Rule, First Lady of the City of Chicago, who serves as National Honorary Co-Chair along with Christopher Kennedy and Karen Duncan.
More of my food pics so to be available on: http://healthyschoolscampaign.org/about/
To learn more about Healthy Schools Campaign and comprehensive list of it's sponsors:
Special thanks to Mark, Lindsay and Rochelle enabling me to be part of this inspiring event.
Benito Juarez Community Academy
Charles Allen Prosser Career Academy
Edward Tilden Career Community Academy
Allen H. Richards Career Academy
George Henry Corliss Early Stem High School
George Washington High School
John Marshall Metropolis High School
Manley Community Academy
Neil F. Simon Career Academy
North Grand High School
Roberto Clemente Community Academy
Southside Occupational Academy
Theodore Roosevelt High School
Congrats to all of these Winners!