A Mexican-Inspired Meal Wins Cooking up Change Orange County

June 05, 2015

Next week, the culinary student team from Westminster High School in Orange County, Calif., will pack their bags and head to Washington, D.C., to compete against eight other talented student culinary teams in the Cooking up Change National Finals.

But the Orange County team will do it as defending champs. Last year, the winning team from Orange County — a different team with a different menu — took home first place in the national competition. In fact, teams from Orange County took home first place in the national contest in 2013 and 2012, too.

This year’s Orange County team — Elizabeth C., Shae D. and Jonathan Q. — is also bringing a strong menu: Mexican Street Tacos with Motherland Esquite and Peachin’ Empanada. The dish wowed the judges on April 23 in the local competition hosted in partnership with Kid Healthy, a California-based nonprofit.

Student chef Elizabeth said the contest taught her just how good healthy food can taste. “We can create a meal that’s simple and easy and that tastes extravagantly delicious,” she said.

Student Chef Shae said the contest was about more than just creating a delicious and healthy meal. “I really love how all students and mentors and volunteers are trying to change the way kids eat a little at a time,” she said.

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

Here are the other teams that competed in Orange County:
Bolsa Grande High School
Team: Fred F., Jonathan S. and Phong T.
Menu: Salpicon Tacos with Spring Succotash and Fresh Pineapple Orange Salad

Fullerton Union High School
Team: Baylee N., Miles S. and May S.
Menu: Chicken Tortilla Soup with Pico de Gallo with Chips and Crunchy Banana Bites

Team: Eduardo C., Briana P. and Rosa V.
Menu: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Sandwich with Jamaican Style Beans and Rice and Fruit Cup

Katella High School
Team: Claudia B., Maria C. and Gustavo G.
Menu: Greek Chicken Wrap with Greek Salad and Dressing and Kiwi Parfait with Orange Supreme and Granola Sprinkles

La Habra High School
Team: Brooke G., Alexis M. and Fernando S.
Menu: Huli Huli Chicken/Rice with Huli Vegetable Side and Fruit and Tortilla Cinnamon Chips

Team: Giorgio A., Samuel C. and Desi F.
Menu: Spring Wrap with Broccoli Salad and Fruit Mix

Valley High School
Team: Miguel S., Joali T. and Vanelli V.
Menu: Tuna Neptune with Salad Nicoise and Apple Delight

Team: Andrea F., Anayanci J. and Alex R.
Menu: Buffalo Chicken Wrap with Confetti Corn and Blissful Tart

Westminster High School
Team: Abraham C., Deborah F. and Jasmine R.
Menu: Chicken Calzone and Marinara Sauce with Tomato Salad and Peach Parfait