As part of National School Breakfast Week this week, students at 100 Chicago Public Schools high schools will have access to a different kind of breakfast—one designed by culinary students as part of last fall’s Cooking up Change competition.
Breakfast is an essential component of the school meal program, and in 2018, for the first time ever, Cooking up Change’s student chefs took on the challenge of creating an easy-to-eat, delicious school breakfast. Prosser Career Academy took first place in the breakfast category with their Spicy Egg Burrito & Fresh Banana.
William Weaver, student chef at Prosser Career Academy, knows how important offering a delicious and nutritious breakfast is. “If students don’t receive a breakfast that they want or like then they will be less likely to eat it, which means they skip out on a meal they need in order to start the day,” he says.
Seeing their winning breakfast served across the district shows students chefs the impact of their hard work, Weaver says. “The Cooking up Change competition has given us a voice by giving us input on what we think would be good in a school lunchroom instead of the status quo food that has been served in the lunchroom for years and years.”
It’s just that type of student input that CPS was looking for. The district was especially interested in collecting new breakfast ideas to help increase breakfast participation at the high school level—and the results have CPS rethinking some of its offerings. “All of the students recipes showcased eggs in a way that are not currently on the menu but are appealing to students,” says Tarrah DeClemente, Manager of Health Promotion at CPS. “Eggs tend to be a less favored item, but to see students come up with innovative and delicious new ways to serve them allowed us to tell vendors what sort of egg products we needed.”
CPS is currently looking at a new refrigerated scrambled egg product that can be easily prepared by staff, and will help the district incorporate some of the student dishes into the breakfast menu. “We look forward to having students see this new item on the menu next school year,” says DeClemente.