Student Chefs Serve Lunch

Stephanie's picture

School lunches sometimes tend to get a bad rap, but on the Elmwood School lunch menu May 29th was another sort of wrap; turkey made to resemble a worm with carrot eyes, a cucumber nose, and a red pepper mouth. And this clever concoction was not created using canned food, or even by a lunch lady, but instead by second graders Kate Dion, Grace Joy, and Hannah Hutchins as part of the first ever student recipe contest.

The contest, which was open to 2nd through 8th graders and had a winner in each grade, is part of the "Chef's Move to School" program. Founded in 2010, the program is part of First Lady Michelle's Obama's "Let's Move" initiative, and teams up a school district with a chef with the goal of promoting eating healthy in a fun way. The idea to implement the program stemmed from a Food Service Committee meeting, a group comprised of Aramark Food Service Director Sherry Toscano, as well as members of the HPTA and School Council.

The committee approached Chefs Andy Husbands and Hopkinton resident Chris Hart with the idea, and the two were immediately onboard. Chef Hart, who was on hand to aid the winners in the kitchen, was particularly impressed with all of the contest winners' dishes and found them to be both nutritious and tasty.

Besides the winter worms, third Grader Geneva Sanga was Elmwood's other winner with stuffed shells. At Hopkins, turkey chili burritos and fruit and yogurt parfaits were on the menu thanks to fourth grader Sarah Wilme and fifth grader Abigail Jaye respectively. And sixth grader Chris Rowell served up his hoisin chicken wrap to his fellow students along with seventh grader Rachel McIntosh's garden fresh corn, tomato, and black bean salad and eighth grader Austin Schofield's general tso's chicken at the middle school.

Chef Hart was amazed with the winners' creativity and believes that kids don't always get enough credit for the variety of foods that they will actually eat.

And based upon many of the student's reactions to their fellow classmates as well as the amount of the winner's food flying off the counters, the contest was a success, the ultimate indicator being the empty lunch trays.

Toscano and Hart believe that education is the key to integrating healthy food into the students' diets, and both feel that the process starts at home.

Toscano says that Aramark will be launching a new standardized menu in the fall based upon the new USDA guidelines that will include nutritional information. She encourages parents to take an active role in seeing many of these changes by coming into the schools and experiencing the school lunch program for themselves.

To see the HCAM News coverage of our visit to the lunchrooms at the Middle School, Elmwood and Hopkins, watch the video below.

To see photos, Click Here.