Hear from the Winning Students Chefs of Cooking up Change Denver

December 21, 2011

Congratulations to Manual High School student chefs Alismet Andrade, Jessica Gurrola, Libertad Mendivil, and Sanjuana Casillas. The talented students took top tray honors in the local Cooking up Change Denver competition with their cheesy chicken pasta baked with vegetable ragu, a spinach and carrot muffin with carrot sticks, and a fruit and yogurt parfait.

They are the second team in the country to secure a spot in the Cooking up Change national finals that HSC will host in Washington, DC in May 2012!

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We spoke with some of the Manual High teammates about their love of cooking, motivation, and what they’re looking forward to in the national contest. The first-time Cooking up Change competitors are all high school seniors.

On winning the Cooking up Change contest

“I remember jumping in joy. I, along with my teammates, could not believe we had won, but we were really excited for the next steps in the competition.”

~Sanjuana

On the best part of Cooking up Change

“The great things that we still have to accomplish as a team in the upcoming contest.”

~ Alismet

On the inspiration behind their meal

“We thought about the [other] students and what would they like to eat in the future.”

~ Alismet


“We realized that the meal would have to look good in order for kids to even consider tasting it.”

~Sanjuana

On their new perspective of healthy school food

The competition changed my view of healthy foods because it has opened my eyes to explore new things. If healthy foods [are available] for students, then the younger generations would eat healthier. 

~ Alismet

On a new perspective on healthy eating and cooking habits

“Participating in Cooking up Change gave me the chance to see that vegetables are not always plain and taste funny. It showed me that cooking with vegetables not only adds a nutritious factor, but also a hint of flavor. Now, I try to eat more vegetables and show my family that vegetables are not only canned.”

~Sanjuana

Once again, congratulations to all the remarkable student chefs. Stay posted for more updates from Cooking up Change!