Cooking up Change Boston Winning Team Relishes a Challenge

June 09, 2017 | Written By:


Cooking up Change competitions are happening all across the country with winners heading to Washington D.C., for the national finals on June 12. Healthy Schools Campaign’s Cooking up Change contest challenges high school culinary students to create healthy, great-tasting meals that meet the real-life requirements of the national school meal program. Cooking up Change serves up life-changing opportunities, helps students realize their own potential and puts student voices front and center in the national dialogue about school food.

The student chefs from Madison Park Technical Vocational High School were motivated for the very reason that started the Cooking up Change Boston competition. They wanted to take on the challenge of creating spectacular dishes that are tasty, nutritional and affordable. One of the team members, SaiAnna, says the group wanted to show, “how fun and colorful school lunches could be.” SaiAnna and her classmates Joahnaliz, Jennifer and Ashley used their talented culinary skills to take on the challenge.

They did not disappoint with their delectable dish of Sautéed Chicken, Onions and Peppers with Brown Rice, Fresh Tomato and Corn Salsa, and Banana Bites, which led them to victory in their local competition. The group focused on eliminating added sugar by elevating the natural sugar in food, such as the bananas in their fruit dish.

Jennifer says the team wanted to make a meal that could give their student peers the nutrition they needed. The student chefs know that not all of their classmates got healthy meals at home, or food at all. SaiAnna says that if the school lunch menu was enriched with healthier options, students would be given the energy they need in order to get through a jam-packed school day.

The group is not only excited to compete for the national title, but also eager for their voices to be heard on a national platform. In addition, the students also hope their fellow students’ voices can be heard at their own school. They are envisioning a space where students opinions influence the school’s lunch menu. “We can’t wait for our dish to be put in all schools,” says Joahnaliz.

The Boston contest took place May 8. Here are all the teams that competed:

Boston Day and Evening Academy
Student Chefs: Idalmis and Tevoy
Menu: Brunch Wrap, Roasted Broccoli w/ Garlic and Parmesan, and Fruit Salad

Fenway High School
Student Chefs: Herlene and Mohammedshafi
Menu: Chicken Burrito, Black Bean and Corn Salsa, Peach, Banana and Yogurt Parfait w/ Crunchy Topping

Madison Park Technical Vocational High School
Student Chefs: Jennifer, SaiAnna, Ashley and Joahnaliz
Menu: Sauteed Chicken, Onions and Peppers w/ Brown Rice, Fresh Tomato, Corn Salsa and Banana Bites

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Note - updated to the HSC Newsletter list 1.3.2017 per the updated newsletter configuration