By Chef Keith Morris
Culinary Arts instructor
On October 29th, Clemente competed with 16 other culinary teams from across the city to cook up change! A team of three junior and two senior culinary collaborated to plan, prepare, deliver and serve a healthy school meal. Their school lunch design was presented to a panel of judges which included foodservice professionals and chefs, as well as members of Chicago civic, education and health communities. The event was hosted by the Healthy Schools Campaign, a nonprofit organization driven to make school lunches healthier for all students.
“Cooking up Change” means just that, but it comes with a whole list of criteria that really takes true research and commitment from the team. Each school is only allowed six team members. Each team must decide their Menu and use only ingredients exactly as they appear in the ingredients list provided. The team must develop recipes for one main dish, one vegetable side and one fruit side. The student’s lunch must include at least one local produce item, and no dish may have more than six preparation steps. The main dish and vegetable side could not include more than ten ingredients, and the fruit side could not include more than five ingredients. These were only some of the major guidelines, not to mention there were additional nutritional restrictions and they limited the cost per meal to $1.25! We met all criteria with flying colors and everyone seemed to love the meal that the students created. The completed meal consisted of the Clemente team’s healthy version of a Cuban sandwich, Sweet Potato Salad, and a delicious Tropical Cuban S’more!
Unfortunately, even though the meal looked and tasted great, it came up short in the final judging. Our team really knew their meal inside and out, from top to bottom. They presented well, and all Wildcats should be proud. If you see the seniors Natalis Torres and Samuel Santiago, or juniors Samantha Dones , Vanessa Cordova and Antoine Harris, give them a high-five a “Job well done!”