Cooking up a Conversation

June 16, 2014

When student chefs meet, great things happen

Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Education

Cooking up Change national finals brought 10 teams of student chefs together from around the country. Their task: create a healthy school meal that meets high nutrition standards and also appeals to their peers. Not easy, right? But time and again, students say that teamwork helps them pull through. Each team becomes a dynamic unit of creativity and hard work.

What happens when all these teams come together?

The conversation continues. Students meet each other and our VIP guests, helping grow the community of those who care about the future of school food.

A few bites of the conversation in D.C.:

“I had a real good time inside the kitchen, getting to know everyone… We all had something we could relate to… I think that’s what really matters.” — Gustavo, Orange County

“It’’s really inspiring to see these teams of kids coming together. We always talk about sports teams. Well, here’s a team of young people, chefs… they’re working together, they’re learning the same types of skills and character traits that any team learns. Coming together with hard work, negotiating. The confidence that each of these young people exudes is just inspiring. It gives us hope. Every team here is a winner, and the ripple effect that they’re going to have in their communities, their neighborhoods, in their own homes is immeasurable.” — Shellie Pfohl, Executive Director of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition

“I’ve met a couple of the chefs, they’ve congratulated us, and I feel very honored by them.” — Oscar, Winston-Salem

“It was such a great experience to be competing and cooking. At first I was nervous [about meeting other chefs], but once you get comfortable with them and realize they’re not, like, scary, you adapt to them, and you’re like, ‘Oh hi, friends.’” — Jenifer, Los Angeles

“I look forward to this every year, and I’m just so pleased at how it elevates every year, both in terms of the level of competition, the interest and passion from the judges and chef mentors and other organizations… Events like this show the positive side of school food, both the educational outcomes that are possible and that healthy food can actually taste good.” — Rob Rogers, chair, HSC board of directors