CPS students compete in culinary contest

October 29, 2009 6:23:58 PM PDT
For now, they are high school students. But, in a few years, they could become the next top chef at your favorite restaurant. On Thursday, the best students in Chicago's high school culinary programs staged a kitchen battle for some very important scholarships.

Student chefs from fifteen Chicago Public High Schools are competing in cooking up change. A healthy schools campaign challenges teams of six to create healthy school lunches for only $1 per meal.

"It gives them a chance to actually create something that's new," said Kate Walsh, Richards culinary instructor.

Students from Richards Career Academy last year won the competition with a Hispanic food theme. This year they are defending their title by creating comfort food made up of fall colors. Shepherd pie with filling, fruit salad and low-cal bread pudding.

"I'm comfortable we have a chance of winning again but we have to realize there's also good teams," said Mike Martinez, Richards student.

"We're preparing for our competition today, a twice-baked shepherd's pie. And seasoned ground beef with dehydrated onion," said Jose Tena, Richards student.

"We had a budget and on a list of what we could use and make it so it's healthy," said Rafael Ruiz, Richards student.

Just as last year, the contest winners will travel to Washington to meet President Obama's chef and prepare their meal for the House of Representatives cafeteria and for 40,000 public school students across the country. They will also ask congress to approve more money for food in school.

The competition was set to be judged by a panel of celebrity judges on Thursday afternoon, looking at presentation, taste and nutrition. The winners were going to be announced on Thursday evening.

"Students at Richard's have won over $600,000 in culinary scholarships which has the potential and the possibility to transform their life," said Mark Soltis, Richards culinary teacher.

"It's given me an opportunity to get scholarships to go to college," said Marquice Kent, Richards student.


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