We all know the debate over school lunches: Where should the food come from? What health standards should they meet? How are they impacting the children?
One local organization, Real Food for Kids, is a nonprofit organization advocating for healthy school meals by engaging with Fairfax County leaders. Real Food for Kids’ resume includes an invitation to meet Michelle Obama at the White House, the removal of soda machines in Fairfax County elementary schools and the addition of salad bars to 141 local middle and high schools.
The organization will be hosting its seventh annual Real Food for Kids Culinary Challenge on March 2, and will host 24 teams from five school districts. At the competition, participating student-led teams create USDA-compliant healthy school meals with a budget of $1.80 per meal. The winning food entrée is then added to school lunch menus across the region.
The 2018 winning entrée was created by students from Marshall High School. They created black bean taquitos with roasted vegetable medley and chile con fruta.
Judges for the event include Top Chef contestant Spike Mendelsohn, of the recently opened Vim & Victor, and James beard-nominated chef Cathal Armstrong (Kaliwa). Chopped contestant Ype Von Hengst, who is also the executive chef at Silver Diner, will serve as a mentor to the student contestants.
Student recipes are vetted for compliance to USDA standards ahead of the competition, where they are then judged on taste, presentation and student appeal.
Participating schools include the following:
- Academies of Loudoun
- Arlington Career Center
- Blue Ridge Middle School
- Chantilly Academy
- Franklin Middle School
- Glasgow Middle School
- Harper Park Middle School
- Herndon High School
- Kenmore Middle School
- Lanier Middle School
- Parkside Middle School
- Rocky Run Middle School
- Sandburg Middle School
- Takoma Park Middle School
- West Potomac High School
Real Food for Kids Culinary Competition will be held from 7:45 a.m.-1 p.m. at Hayfield Secondary School. // Hayfield Secondary School: 7630 Telegraph Road, Alexandria; Free
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