Memphis Student Chefs Impress with Fusion Creations

May 04, 2015

The team from Memphis Health Careers Academy won this year’s Cooking up Change Memphis.

The theme for this year’s Cooking up Change competition in Memphis was fusion. And the team that was able to combine the right elements to form a winning meal was the team from Memphis Health Careers Academy. This is the second year in a row a team from this school has won.

On April 10, 11 culinary teams from six schools competed in the Memphis contest hosted locally by Shelby County Schools Nutrition Services. Winning team Raijeen D., Shanterica R. and TyJuan T. were inspired by Mexican and Asian cuisines to develop their menu of Explosive Chimichanga Surprise with Sensational Salad Blast and Apple Cinnamon Delight.

The team said the biggest challenge they faced was the strict nutritional requirements. For example, the team was not allowed to add salt to any of the dishes. “Students have strong tastes,” Shanterica said. But the team figured out that cumin blended really well with the chicken and the bell peppers and garlic powder brought the whole dish together. “We didn’t need salt,”  Shanterica said.

The Cooking up Change competition not only serves as a way for student chefs to create meals that appeal to their peers but also to show that school meals can be healthy, delicious and meet the requirements. “I learned that healthy food doesn’t have to taste healthy,” Shanterica said. “It’s about getting food that tastes good and does good for us.”

Raijeen said she learned that you don’t have to add a lot of sugar and salt to food to make it taste good. After learning this very important lesson, she says she sees herself making healthy changes in her diet.

The winning Memphis team will spend the next few weeks fine-tuning their preparation and presentation before going up against other winning teams from across the country in June at the Cooking up Change National Finals in Washington, D.C.

Congratulations to the Memphis Health Careers Academy team — and all the Memphis student chefs — for proving that school meals can be healthy and delicious!

Here are the other 10 teams that competed in Memphis:

Craigmont High School
Team: Barry G., Dinisha J. and Keith M.
Menu: BBQ Chicken Pizza with Sweet Potato Fries and Peach Cobbler Vanilla Parfait

Team: Cameron H., Anjalkia L. and Christian S.
Menu: Mediterranean Deli Wrap with Spicy Ginger Glazed Carrots and Fruit Salad Delight

Team: Kalia B., Cornetria G. and Alyssia L.
Menu: Southern Chicken Wrap with Garlic Sauteed Spinach and Fresh Fruit Parfait

Sheffield Career and Technology Center
Team: Jarquavion H., Kayla J. and Tamara L.
Menu: Garlic Chicken with Roasted Red Potatoes and Pineapple Peach Chutney

Kingsbury Career Technology Center
Team: Randon A., Zachary B. and Heavenly M.
Menu: Tuna Fish Taco with Black Beans and Rice and Kiwi Pineapple Parfait

Trezevant Career and Technology Center
Team: DeAngelo B. and Deondrea W.
Menu: Oven Baked Chicken with Italian Bread Crumbs and Spaghetti Sauce with Steamed Red Cabbage and Fruit Salad

Team: LaShawn B. and Marcel B.
Menu: Classic Club Wrap with Apple Kiwi Veg Salad and Mixed Fruit

Team: Tarika H. and Joshua J.
Menu: Spicy Barbecue Meatball Sandwich with Carrots and Peas and Pineapple Fruit Salad

Northside High School
Team: Branesha H., Tanner M. and Shunda T.
Menu: Spicy Tuna Toss with Moroccan Trio and Rockin’ Moroccan Fruit Parfait

Team: Orlantavia B. and Tykeshia C.
Menu: Hummin’ Pizza with Spinning Cucumber Salad and Kickin’ Kiwi Banana Crunch