Sodexo Future Chef Challenge

Nationwide, nutrition standards for school lunches have changed for the 2012-2013 school year. They now call for more servings of fruits and vegetables.
Twenty Ranchview Elementary students stepped up to their cutting boards to dish up their favorite recipes.

It was all part of the Future Chefs competition held by Sodexo, a top provider of the nation’s school lunches.

Entries for healthiest salad included the Crazy Caprese Salad, Welcome to Hawaii Salad, and Fruit Tornado.

The General Manager of Sodexo for School District 203 is Barbara Brown. She came out to taste-test for the event. “The kids were very excited. We’ve heard from parents that some of the kids had been practicing for weeks so when they came to their table they would know exactly what to do and be very confident. So I think they’re very excited,” Brown said.

It was Eli Lizzardo who’s Eli’s Jungle Fruit Salad won him a first place spot.

Lizzardo says, “A cup of pineapple, a cup of strawberries, two teaspoons of cinnamon, two teaspoons of honey, one cup of mango, and one cup of banana,” is all it takes.

“We wanted them to see that fruits and vegetables can be fun and they can be delicious and just different ways to combine fruits and vegetables to make a healthy salad,” Brown said.

Each entry was judged based on originality, taste, presentation, and most importantly, the use of healthy ingredients.

“Apples, oranges, bananas, we have one student using chia seeds we have students using quinoa and orzo so just different foods that we hope everybody will enjoy,” said Brown.

4th grader, Eli, knows from personal experience how important a healthy lifestyle can be. “If you eat healthier, you feel better, you act better, you’re not tired all the time, and you can exercise better,” he said.

Lizzardo plans to keep on cooking healthy foods not just for his entry in the statewide competition, but at home, too.

The winners from individual school districts will advance to compete in the state, regional, and perhaps national competitions.


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