Cooking up Change Winning Meal Coming Soon to a Cafeteria Near You

February 12, 2015

The winning meal from the Cooking up Change Chicago competition will be served to 400,000 students.

Last October, a new champion was crowned at Chicago’s Cooking up Change contest, but that’s really just the beginning for the winning team from Marshall Metropolitan High School. In June, the team will head to Washington, D.C., to compete against other teams from across the country at the Cooking up Change national finals, and to raise their voices about the importance of healthy school food.

And on Thursday, February 19, the more than 400,000 students in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will get their chance to enjoy the winning meal created for them by their peers. Cafeterias across the district will serve the team’s delicious dish of Haitian Spice Chicken, Slamming Collard Greens and Pineapple Surprise Parfait.

This is a great opportunity for all CPS students to eat a school meal designed for them by their peers, as well as for the Marshall student chefs to experience the impact of their accomplishment.

“Students always want the winning Cooking up Change dish when it’s served citywide,” explained CPS Culinary Arts program manager David Blackmon. As for how the meal impacts the winning team, he added, “The reason chefs become chefs is that there’s nothing greater than your dish being enjoyed by thousands. And Cooking up Change winners are seeing it enjoyed by hundreds of thousands.”

By challenging high school culinary students to create school lunches that their peers will enjoy, while adhering to strict nutrition guidelines, ingredient lists and budget constraints, Cooking up Change puts student voices front and center in the conversation about healthy school food. Asked what she learned from the contest, Marshall student chef Autumn G. said, “You have your ups and downs. Your recipes are not going to be exactly what you thought they might be, but you have to keep trying and make the best out of it.”

The group’s inspiration for their Haitian-themed meal came from teammate Da’ovan B., whose parents hail from the small Caribbean nation. “I’ve never tasted any kind of Haitian dish in school,” she said. “I just wanted to taste something that resembled home.” Da’ovan B. worked with her teammates Stormy B., Autumn G., Rayvan H. and Zykeria P. to adapt the recipe to fit within the contest guidelines. The end result was an award-winning dish that will be enjoyed by their classmates and peers across the entire city.

Teachers, principals and parents, encourage your students and children to try the winning meal so they can taste firsthand the future of school food!