Today, We’re Cooking up Change in D.C.!

June 09, 2014

10 teams, national finals

Three…. two…. one…. time for Cooking up Change!

Ten teams of student chefs, all winners of their local Cooking up Change contests, compete today for the national title today in Washington, D.C.

We’re so proud of these students, and we know they’re about to cook up something amazing. Cooking up Change is a dynamic culinary competition that challenges student chefs to create healthy and delicious school meals their peers will enjoy, while meeting strict nutritional standards and a tight budget—constraints schools deal with every day.

Today’s national contest will be held at the U.S. Department of Education, where the high school students will prepare and present their winning meals to a panel of judges, including national policy leaders, nutrition experts and celebrity chefs.

Why is this so important? Two words: Student voices.

“Cooking up Change plays a critical role in adding student voices to the national dialogue about school food,” says Rochelle Davis, Healthy Schools Campaign president and CEO. “Currently, there is a political debate about school nutrition with an attempt by Congress to roll back the new healthy school food standards because of concerns about student acceptability. Cooking up Change students are creating healthy meals that their peers enjoy, and they serve as a valuable resource that can help schools meet updated nutrition standards in a way that’s appealing to kids.”

Meet the 2014 Cooking up Change finals competitors and their meals:

  • Chicago Vocational Career Academy (Chicago, IL)

Menu: Curry Chicken, Caribbean Garden Salad, “Plantains”

  • Westside High School (Houston, TX)

Menu: Lonestar Chicken Chili Sub, Grilled Veggies, Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

  • Sandalwood High School (Jacksonville, FL)

Menu: Thai Chicken Wrap, Bleu Slaw, Grilled Pineapple Yogurt Shortcake

  • Metropolitan Career-Technical Center (Little Rock, AR)

Menu: Chicken Flatbread Sandwich, Sweet Potato Fries, Yogurt Parfait

  • Manual Arts High School (Los Angeles, CA)

Menu: BBQ Chicken Pizza, Spicy Bean Dip, Tropical “C” Burst

  • Memphis Health Careers Academy (Memphis, TN)

Menu: Spicy Chicken Tortilla Wrap, Baked Potato with Sautéed Veggies, Exotic Island Pears

  • Valley High School (Orange County, CA)

Menu: Kickin’ Taco, Zesta Fiesta Salad, Yummy Tummy Bananas

  • Westside Tech Center (Orlando, FL)

Menu: Beef Empanadas, Tex Mex Fries, Fruit Salad

  • West High School (Wichita, KS)

Menu: Buffalo Mac & Cheese, Special Veggie Coleslaw, Pear Crisp with Granola

  • Career Center (Winston-Salem, NC)

Menu: The Best Chicken Stir Fry, Veggie Boost, Super Stewed Apples

They’re not just sharing their recipes, they’re raising their voices for healthy school food, too. The student chefs will prepare their meals for Congress and speak at a congressional briefing on Tuesday, June 10. Each student will also have the opportunity to meet his or her local representative. In speaking with congressional leaders, students will share their Cooking up Change experience and advocate for the importance of healthy school food, which is proven to have a direct impact on success in the classroom.

Last but not least, we extend huge thanks to everyone who’s making this happen — especially our sponsors. Cooking up Change is supported by National Partner Kids’ Safe & Healthful Foods Project, National School Nutrition Partner Aramark, Official Travel Partner Southwest Airlines, Official Culinary Partner James Beard Foundation, National Silver SponsorsAmerican Federation of Teachers and T-fal, and National Bronze Sponsor Asian Food Solutions, Inc.

For more information about the Cooking up Change national finals, visit cookingupchange.org.