Get Ready, Get Set!: Student Chefs Give a Preview of Cooking up Change

October 29, 2013

A chat with student chefs in Chicago!

We’re less than a week away from kicking off the Cooking up Change 2013-14 season, which takes place in Chicago on November 7th. Last year’s winning team from Chicago’s Washington High School set the bar high, but we have no doubt these students will knock our socks off once again.

Last week, Ivette and Angeline from Chicago’s North-Grand High School took time out of their busy school schedule to chat about their experience so far prepping for Cooking up Change.

For starters, why did you decide to participate in CuC?

Ivette: It’s a new experience to create something different. Usually when we cook, we don’t worry about the nutritional value.

Angeline: I decided I have the talent to be in it and because I wanted to learn more skills and take advantage of opportunities that come my way.

Give us a sneak peek of your dish.

Ivette: We’re doing a chicken wrap with corn salad and a parfait. Right now, we are broken into  different groups, tasting and seeing what we need to do with the taste and profile. I’m working on the chicken wrap. We all put ingredients we liked, using ranch and different spices like cajun and lemon pepper salt. The chicken, we’re baking. We don’t use a lot of oil or salt.

Angeline: I have mostly been doing the vanilla yogurt parfait. It basically has no salt , it’s made out of low-fat yogurt and has bananas and kiwi and whole grain cereal. We have had plain yogurt at school but never something where you have the fruit in it to make the flavor come out more.

How has your experience with Cooking up Change affected what you eat at home?

Ivette: We see what we have at home and what’s not healthy. [Our food] affects our day, how we’re tired. I sleep more now [that I’m eating healthier] and have more energy.

Angeline: While we were looking for recipes, I asked my mom to help. I had her cook stuff with no salt and more vegetables so I could get some ideas. She has started changing the way she was cooking. She used to make greasy food, and now she’s changing that, eating salad and other stuff.

What has been the most challenging part of this experience?

Ivette: The ingredients. We are limited to ten.

Angeline: Finding a recipe that doesn’t have so much sodium that will still taste good.

Has it given you a new appreciation of the challenges chefs face in the school cafeteria?

Ivette: Yes. At the cafeteria they are also limited if they are going to make a dish that tastes and looks good.

Angeline: I can see now it’s harder than it looks. It better be healthy, but it also needs to have flavor!

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Good luck, Ivette, Angeline and the rest of your team! We’re excited for the debut of your meal!