A Latin-Inspired Dish Wins Cooking up Change Detroit

June 03, 2015

Spices from Brazil and Mexico served as inspiration for student chefs Alondra G., Guillermo G. and Jennifer M. Their menu of Rio Chicken Wrap, Sunset in Hawaii and Tutti Fruity Parfait took first place at the Detroit Cooking up Change competition.

Guillermo said the team was hoping to come up with a unique recipe that would offer students more variety than pizza — a current favorite in the cafeteria.

But the team had to get a little creative as many of the spices they originally wanted to include — Cajun seasoning, for example — were not on the approved ingredient list. The Cooking up Change competition not only challenges student chefs to create healthy meals their peers enjoy, but to do so while adhering to the nutritional guidelines, budgets and product lists of the National School Lunch Program.

What did this teach the students about the school lunch program and healthy cooking? “I learned that we don’t need a lot of ingredients to make something tasty,” Alondra said.

Guillermo said his family cooks healthy meals and that healthy eating sets up the next generations for success. “I learned that cooking healthy can be fun and inspirational,” he said. “Healthy cooking should be in everyone’s life because it can help combat childhood obesity.”

The winning Detroit team will head to Washington, D.C., next week to compete against other winning teams from across the country on June 8 at the Cooking up Change National Finals.

Congratulations to the winning Detroit team — and all the Detroit student chefs — for proving that school meals can be healthy and delicious!

Here are the other teams that competed in Detroit:
Team: Adrian H. and Destiny J.
Menu: Chicken Florentine Pasta, Cheesy Trees and Cinnamon Peaches

Team: Andrea T. and Tangmeair W.
Menu: Chicken Fajitas, Side Salad and Mixed Fruit

Team: Rayshaun L. and Khalil W.
Menu: Chicken Pizza with a Kick, Zesty Italian Medley,
Tasty Apple Yogurt

Team: Carmenia F. and Antoine H.
Menu: Herbed Chicken Pasta, Stir-fried Italian Vegetables and Fresh Pear Crumb Dessert