Young chefs serve up creations in contest at Mass. school

Sixth grader wins with "monkey sandwich" recipe.

March 13—In the Fitchburg (Mass.) High School cafeteria four middle-school girls carefully prepared their culinary concoctions in the hopes of taking top place in last week's national Future Chefs competition sponsored by Sodexo.

Each teamed up with a nutrition services staff member and set to work to woo three judges in several categories, including taste, originality, use of healthful ingredients and plate presentation.

School Superintendent Andre R. Ravenelle, State Sen. Jennifer L. Flanagan and Rep. Stephen L. DiNatale were judges.

Walking into the cafeteria just before judging began was like entering the stage of one of the Food Network's cooking challenges.

Essence K. Perry, 12, a sixth-grader at Fitchburg Arts Academy, won with her “monkey sandwich” recipe, which included yogurt and fruit assembled between two apple slices. She won an iPod Touch and a $15 Apple Tunes gift card.

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
green smoothie

From DanoneWave Away From Home.

Not so long ago, finding non-dairy milk in a supermarket dairy case was a challenge. But these days, that aisle is bursting with plant-based beverage choices—cow’s milk alternatives crafted from soybeans, nuts, grains or coconut, as consumer demand for these beverages has grown exponentially. According to Euromonitor, worldwide sales of non-dairy milk alternatives more than doubled between 2009 and 2015.

Millennials and Gen Zers, many of them already accustomed to drinking dairy alternatives at home, expect to see some of those same choices...

Industry News & Opinion

George Washington University in Washington, D.C., is adding an additional $200 in dining dollars to each student's dining plan this fall, The GW Hatchet reports.

The boost comes just a year after the university switched to an open-format dining plan that allows students to spend their entire meal fund off campus; allowed venues include about 90 grocery stores and restaurants.

While students support the new plan, they are concerned about dining affordability. In conjunction with discounted meal deals that were implemented last semester, school officials hope the extra $200...

Ideas and Innovation
french press

While a French press isn’t a tool found in most noncommercial kitchens, operators might want to think twice about multiple uses for this fancy coffee maker. Staff at the Hard Rock Cafe are using the French press to muddle fruit and alcohol for their mixed drinks, while at Chicago bar Moneygun, bartenders use a French press to blend spices and tea for hot toddys.

Ideas and Innovation
student food tray

Stories of students who can’t pay for lunch being given a subpar meal or shamed for their debt have proliferated in recent years, and it’s not an uncommon problem. The SNA’s 2016 School Nutrition Operations Report found that about three-quarters of school districts had an unpaid student meal debt at the end of last school year, an increase from 71% of districts reporting debt in 2014.

Government has begun to take action. In April, the USDA issued new regulations mandating that schools implement unpaid meal policies by the start of the 2017-18 school year and clarifying that schools...

FSD Resources