Back to News

They Came. They Cooked. They Conquered.

Students’ Cooking Competition Yields Tasty Option for Middle School Menu

girl with mask and gloves holding a dish of food

What’s for lunch? Three teams of students in CUSD’s after school Expanded Learning program competed to have their meal be the answer on the school lunch menu. 

It was no cake walk. Teams in the first annual Cooking Competition from Sherman Oaks, Rolling Hills, and Monroe had to collaborate on planning and creating one meal that adhered to the National School Lunch Program guidelines. Their recipes—Chicken Taquitos, Spicy Chicken Ramen, and Mini Burger— were judged for presentation, taste, creativity, and how well the dish could be adapted to the Central Kitchen’s preparation and distribution system.

“Every one of the dishes was delicious,” said Benny Calderon, Manager of the District’s Child Nutrition Department. “The students did a great job and were very thoughtful about using fresh ingredients and using spices for flavor.”

group of students looking proudThe winning dish, Spicy Chicken Ramen, was developed by Monroe’s team, pictured here.  This dish will be featured on the middle school lunch menu before the end of the school year.

This 1st annual CUSD Cooking Competition was hosted by two CUSD departments, Expanded Learning and Child Nutrition, with support from Santa Clara County Public Health, CalFresh, Sutter, and 5-2-1-0 programs.