Culinary Arts Students Ashley Blanco, Alejandro Hernandez, and Ivan Lopez, from Valley High School traveled to Washington, DC on Monday, May 21st to compete in the national finals of the Cooking up Change® healthy cooking contest. Their meal was the national winner selected by a panel of judges at the Department of Education. To make it to the finals the students beat out 29 other teams from the Valley High School Culinary Arts Program at a local competition held in March. For the national competition, they created the same meal and competed among teams from Chicago, Denver, Jacksonville, St. Louis and Winston-Salem to win the title.
The contest challenged students to create a healthy, great-tasting school meal that meets high nutrition standards, drawing from ingredients commonly used and easily prepared by school food service. The winning meal prepared by Blanco, Hernandez, and Lopez was a Lemon and Spinach Chicken, Tuscan Bean Salad, and Cinnamon Poached Pear.
The following day the students met with U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, attended a special briefing on Capitol Hill, and prepared their winning healthy school lunch.