By Lindsay Muscato, HSC Writer/Communications Specialist
Big news! HSC's healthy cooking contest, Cooking up Change, is right around the corner. For the third year in a row, Chicago public high school culinary students will design delicious, healthy school meals to meet high nutrition standards on a tight budget, then present their meals to a panel of judges in hopes of winning the first prize: a chance to see their meal served in schools nationwide. (Last year's winning meal was served at the US House of Representatives cafeteria as the student team prepared it with Sam Kass, Obama family chef – on the same day that 40,000 students nationwide enjoyed it in their own school cafeterias!)This year, Cooking up Change will take place on October 29. But long before the night of the contest, students will work to develop and perfect their recipes. In order to make sure students create meals that meet the Balanced Choices nutrition guidelines for the contest – a set of healthy school meal standards set by Cooking up Change gold sponsor Chartwells-Thompon Hospitality – the students work with their culinary instructors and the skilled dietitians at Chartwells-Thompson. Students send their recipes to dietitians for nutritional analysis, receive valuable guidance and learn from the pros about how to make sure their meals get in all the necessary nutrients and fiber without too much fat or sodium.
Katie Nowak, a former Cooking up Change volunteer who's now a dietitian at Chartwells-Thompson, says that meeting the students has been the highlight of her Cooking up Change experience. Plus, she says, it's rewarding to show them, first-hand, all the preparation and effort that goes into every mouthful of school food. She explains, “Before this experience, students don’t necessarily know what goes in to the planning of healthy meals in schools."
Dietician Robin Levy says she loves seeing students learning about healthy food. She says, "I always get a kick out of the recipes they make, and it’s great to see students make nutritional decisions while learning."
Robin and Katie are just two of the generous and committed experts who make Cooking up Change possible! Stay tuned for more information on Cooking up Change as HSC – and the all-star culinary students -- get ready to serve up an unforgettable event.