Cooking up Change National Finals


On Monday, June 8, nine teams of students chefs from across the country will meet at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C., for the Cooking up Change National Finals. After winning local contests in their hometowns, the teams will now prepare their award-winning meals for a national panel of judges, including policymakers, healthy school food advocates and professional chefs. Debra Eschmeyer, executive director of Let’s Move! and senior White House nutrition policy advisor, will join us to help crown the national champion!

The students will also attend a Capitol Hill briefing on Tuesday, June 9, where their meals will be served to members of Congress and where they’ll urge their national leaders to support their learning and growth by maintaining a high bar for school food. On June 10, the students and their meals will be featured at a Senate tasting event.

National Honorary Chair


We are thrilled that Karen Duncan is once again the Cooking up Change National Honorary Chair.

“I am happy to be working with these students to help make their vision for school food a reality in their schools and in schools across the nation.”

As a national leader, former educator, mother of two, and wife of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Karen is a powerful advocate and supporter of healthy school food for all students.

Panel of Judges


Victor Albisu
Owner and Chef
Del Campo and Taco Bamba

Martin J. Blank
Institute for Educational Leadership
Coalition for Community Schools

Quanshe Brewington
Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women

Margot Brown
U.S. EPA Office of Children’s Health Protection,
Program Implementation and Coordination Division

Phoebe Brown
Healthy and Ready to Learn Initiative, Children’s Health Fund

Scott Drewno
Regional Executive Chef
The Source by Wolfgang Puck

Jesse Matton
Associate Manager
Corporate Relations, Corporate Citizenship Center,
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Ronn Nozoe
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Programs
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
U.S. Department of Education

Chelsea Prax
Sr. Associate for Children’s Health, Safety and Well-Being
American Federation of Teachers

Maggie Severns
Education Reporter

Anthony Thompson
Baltimore City Public Schools
Great Kids Farm

Kim Tranell
Deputy Editor
Scholastic Choices

Katie Wilson
Deputy Under Secretary of Food Nutrition, and Consumer Services
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Meet the National Finalists


Congratulations to the Cooking up Change national finalists from Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville, Memphis, Orange County, Orlando, Washington, D.C., and Wichita. Best wishes in the national competition!

About Cooking up Change


Cooking up Change is a dynamic culinary competition that puts student voices front-and-center in the national dialogue about school food. With limited ingredients, tight deadlines and real-life constraints, teams of high school culinary students take on a big challenge: Create a delicious, nutritious school lunch that their peers will enjoy.

Healthy Schools Campaign launched Cooking up Change in Chicago in 2007 to engage students and the broader community in a dialogue about critical changes needed in our nation’s school meal program.

Since that time, stronger school food nutrition standards have been implemented, and Cooking up Change students continue to lead the way by designing school meals that are healthy, delicious, fun—and, most importantly, meet all the necessary criteria to be served in school cafeterias across the country.

Learn more about Healthy Schools Campaign's Cooking up Change program.

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