Student-Designed Lunch Served Today in Chicago Public High Schools: Congratulations to the Culinary

January 24, 2011

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Richards Career Academy culinary students Ruby Gutierrez, Gerardo Garcia, Claudia Ramirez and Lidia Sanchez

Congratulations to the culinary students of Richards Career Academy! The lunch they created for the Cooking up Change Healthy Cooking Contest will be served today in public high schools across Chicago – to more than 20,000 students!

Janey Thornton, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, is traveling from Washington, DC to extend her congratulations and enjoy the award-winning lunch with the student chefs at Richards.

Healthy Schools Campaign extends congratulations to the Richards Career Academy culinary team for this remarkable achievement:

Students: Gerardo Garcia, Ruby Gutierrez,  Claudia Ramirez, Lidia Sanchez
Instructors: Mark Soltis, Katy Walsh
Team Mentor: Chef Paul Molina

At Cooking up Change on Nov. 4, 2010, teams of student chefs from Chicago Public Schools wowed judges and guests with their creativity in crafting healthy, tasty school meals while bringing attention to the challenges that schools face in serving healthy lunches on incredibly tight budgets.

“What inspired us was that we wanted a meal which was both healthy and delicious” said team member Lidia Sanchez. “We were all energized and inspired.”

The Richards team’s meal features:

Afro-Caribe Plancha: A toasty panini melted with turkey, black beans and cheese
Soup of Sunshine: A bright, fragrant soup of squash, apples, tomatoes and cilantro
Caribbean Crunch Salad: A fresh and zesty salad with apples, oranges and cucumbers

“Cooking up Change spotlights student creativity and talent,” said Rochelle Davis, HSC President and CEO. “It also gives students a real voice in shaping the future of school food, something that affects their health and learning so directly on a daily basis.”

Through the contest and the focus on healthy school meals, the students’ work connects with national efforts to change the future of school food, particularly in light of First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to reverse childhood obesity and  new policies set by the 2010 reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.

“At Healthy Schools Campaign, we envision a future for school food where fresh, healthy meals are the norm,” said Davis. “I am proud to say that with their creativity and commitment to healthy eating, all the students who take part in Cooking up Change – the  culinary professionals of tomorrow –  are working to make that vision a reality.”