Q&A with a Member of Last Year’s Cooking up Change Winning Team!

October 29, 2013

We spoke with one of last year’s Cooking up Change champs.

With only a week or so to go until we kick off Cooking up Change in Chicago, we caught up with one of last year’s winners, Washington High School senior Vanessa. She shares what she learned, what she loved, and words of advice for this year’s student chefs.

HSC: How did you decide to participate in CuC last year?

Vanessa: I thought it was a cool idea that I can personally change school lunches to what we want, what we like and fit within the guidelines. I’ve been in culinary class since 7th grade.

HSC: What the most memorable lesson you learned from participating in CuC?

Vanessa: We all have to talk to each other, learn how to work together and always be willing to listen to each other. We were able to produce something pretty amazing with the school lunch, a lunch that people actually wanted to eat and tasted good and was healthy. The feedback we got in school was that people really liked it.

 HSC: What was something you learned in the kitchen you’d apply to your own cooking in the future?

I learned how to substitute sugar and salt. Like with the biscotti from the year before, we used Nutella and Splenda instead of real sugar. I also learned how to cook without oil and roasting instead of frying and steaming especially.

 HSC: Has this experience inspired you to work in the culinary world in the future?

Vanessa: I always knew what I wanted to do. I’m more likely leaning toward baking and pastry. But the experience of knowing I can use what I learned to make things healthier and knowing that I can cook but I can also bake is helpful. Right now I’m looking at Kendall College and the French Pastry School in Chicago in Chicago and CIA in New York.

 HSC: Any words of wisdom for this year’s student chefs?

Vanessa: Always read your recipes and know that it is worth it in the end. Once you have a finished product, it’s worth it knowing you can make something healthier for everyone.

Cooking up Change presents an unforgettable night on November 7th! It's a healthy cooking contest for student chefs in Chicago, as well as a meaningful benefit for Healthy Schools Campaign. Ready to get your tickets? Join us!