CPS’ TOP CHEF SHOWDOWN
Students compete to make healthy school lunch
Nine teams of Chicago Public Schools students have been trying to come up with a new lunch that their classmates will like — but it can’t cost more than $ 1.40 to make.
In its 11th year, the Chicagocreated Cooking Up Change competition, part of the Healthy Schools Campaign, challenges city high school students to create delicious school lunches within strict health requirements and price limits.
At that price, students also must come up with a meal that has between 550 and 650 calories and relies only on fruits, vegetables and spices for flavor — no salt or sugar. Students also are expected to use only ingredients and equipment commonly available for school food services.
A team of six from Juarez High School settled on chicken Parmesan with an apple crisp dessert.
Senior Bernardo Chavez said they had planned to serve a veggie taco. But the team of Latino students decided to challenge themselves by exploring Italian cuisine.
“The most valuable thing it’s taught me is how to be creative and use what’s available,” said Chavez. “It’s a good brain teaser in a way.”
The winning students will have their creation added to the CPS lunch menu. Since 2007, 9.1 million Cooking Up Change meals have been served — 3.9 million of those in Chicago.
The teams will serve their dishes Thursday to hundreds of people at a fundraiser for the Healthy Schools Campaign. Guests will pay $ 100 each to sample the offerings, talk with the young chefs about their creations and vote on their favorite.
The event starts at 6 p. m. at the Skyline Loft at the Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th. Tickets are $ 100 and can be purchased by calling 312- 419- 1810. Tickets also will be available at the door.
The Chicago contest kicks off the Cooking Up Change competition nationwide. Winning teams from each state head to Washington, D. C., this summer for the national competition.
Darius Gordon, 18, was on the ChicagoVocational Career Academy team at last year’s Cooking Up Change competition.