Chicago High School's Top Chefs Cook for Congress

Students "Cook for Change"

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    Michelle Obama is a proponent of health eating.

    First Lady Michelle Obama has been trying to get America's kids to eat healthier, and now a set of high school students from her hometown is lending a hand with a tasty recipe designed to show Congressmen what the movement's all about.
     
    Five top chefs from Tilden Career Community Academy in the Canaryville neighborhood on Chicago’s southside head to Capitol Hill Tuesday to serve U.S. Congressmen a healthy, original meal: vegetable and chicken jambalaya with spicy cheesy cornbread and tomato-cucumber salad.

    “We looked to southern traditions for inspiration for our meal," said Aljibri Reed, a junior on the Tilden team who is charged with enticing Congressmen to try her dish. "We worked as a family on our ideas, and besides using healthy ingredients, made our dish with love."

    The budding chefs are part of their schools culinary arts program and this years winners of the Healthy Schools Campaign “Cook for Change” contest, and they made their dish under strict budget rules, and with federal nutrition standards.

    Last October, Tilden students beat 16 other public schools to prove that even with such restrictions you can make nutritious food that tastes good too.

    Started in 2007, “Cook for Change” challenges 16 and 17 year old high school students to make a nutritious school meal within some serious culinary restrictions. They include using only frozen, local produce; each recipe can only take six or fewer steps to make, and it can’t cost more than $1 dollar to make.

    It turns out, these aren’t just the competition’s guidelines, these are the restrictions Chicago Public Schools follow to feed thousands of students.

    "Cooking up Change gives students a forum to present their creative ideas about what healthy school food can be," said Rochelle Davis, HSC founding executive director on the campaigns website. "And while the contest is fun, it carries an important message: schools need more money for better food." 

    Not only will members of congress get sample their winning dish – Chicago Public School students will see it on the menu next school year.

    Richard’s Career Academy came in 2nd with a twice baked shepherds pie, pub salad and a side with cinnamon bread pudding.  The Chicago Vocational Career Academy came in third with their mom’s chicken salad, farmers market vegetable soup and harvest apple Crisp.

    The First Lady would be so proud.