CPS’ TOP CHEF SHOW­DOWN

Stu­dents com­pete to make healthy school lunch

Chicago Sun-Times - - CITYBEAT - BYTAYLORHARTZ Staff Re­porter

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.

| SUN- TIMES FILE PHOTO

Dar­ius Gor­don, 18, was on the ChicagoVo­ca­tional Ca­reer Academy team at last year’s Cook­ing Up Change com­pe­ti­tion.

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