Cooking up Change Q&A with Jason Mojica, Regional Chef at Chicago Public Schools

October 28, 2010

Today we're spotlightling Cooking up Change supporter Chef Jason Mojica. Since January 2010, Mojica has been regional chef at Chicago Public Schools through Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality. Mojica graduated in 1992 from Le Cordon Blue Chicago and worked as a chef and supervisor as well as in management positions at various institutions before beginning at Chartwells-Thompson in 2006 in the nutrition support services department. In this role, Jason will work with the team at Chartwells-Thompson and CPS to make the winning meal at Cooking up Change part of the school lunch menu for Chicago Public Schools. We're thrilled to have his support for Cooking up Change!

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Chef Jason Mojica hands out veggies at Chef in the Classroom Day.

What does healthy school food mean to you?

To me, healthy school food is food that tastes good and is good for you.

Why is Cooking up Change important?

Like the name implies, change is always around us and we have to eat every day. Cooking up Change gives students, who are serious about the culinary arts, an opportunity to come up with some great recipes that will be featured on the school menu. Students also learn about teamwork, following rules and regulations, honing cooking skills, cooking techniques and other vital skills that will help to prepare them for exciting culinary careers.

What is your best/worst food memory from your school days?

Best memory:  When I was in elementary school, our food was served to us in small three-compartment foil pans, and although the food was ok, it didn’t look that good on foil pans. Worst memory: In high school, I remember it was the same food all the time, never any variety. There were many times I brought my own lunch to school because the selections were always the same.

What three things can each of us do to ensure that all students get healthy school food every day?

  1. Encourage students to try different foods.
  2. Lead by example –- eat and buy healthy/healthier foods at home.
  3. Ask students for feedback about the food in their school dining centers.

How has being involved with Cooking up Change had an impact on you?

It's nice when you see all of the hard work that students and their culinary instructors go through for this event. To see the passion, the drive, and all of the effort put into this truly inspires me.

Are you ready? Cooking up Change 2010 happens Thursday, November 4! Visit www.cookingupchange.org and get your tickets today!