Real Food for Kids: Culinary Challenge

CULINARY CHALLENGE

Our students are changing school lunch menus.
And this is the only event where you can see how they do it!

Since 2012, the Real Food for Kids Culinary Challenge has provided students the unique experience of mirroring the responsibilities of school nutrition professionals by creating delicious, healthy school meals that represent the diverse culinary traditions in our school communities. All while staying within the defined nutrition parameters and cost thresholds of the federally funded National School Meal Program.

It is the only professional culinary competition open to both middle and high school students, and the only competition where students have an opportunity to see their recipe adapted and served on school lunch lines around the Greater Metropolitan Region.

The “challenge” at the heart of this competition is the same one faced by school food professionals every day: to craft healthy and delicious menu items that meet USDA guidelines and adhere to strict per-meal budgets.

THIS YEAR (2021 – 2022 School Year)

The culinary theme of this year’s competition is Buy Local Eat Local, asking students to source 50% or more of their ingredients locally or regionally.

While COVID-19 required us to detour from the traditional structure of the Culinary Challenge in 2020 and 2021, the goals have remained constant:  to engage and support students in Family and Consumer Sciences and Culinary Arts electives, foster their ambition to create innovative, nutritious dishes that influence school meal programs, and provide a project-based learning platform for teachers.

Following two years of virtual competition, the Culinary Challenge returns to a live event, open to the public.

The 10th Annual Real Food for Kids Culinary Challenge was held on March 5, 2022, at Hayfield Secondary School, 7630 Telegraph Rd, Alexandria, VA 22315.

2022 CULINARY CHALLENGE WINNERS

Winner, 1st Place: Quinoa Quiche | Kenmore Middle School

Second Place + Winner of the Community Choice Award: Vegijita Wrapadilla | Franklin Middle School

Third Place – Tropical Stir Fry | Herndon High School

 

PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS

This year’s Culinary Challenge team lineup includes:

  • Blue Ridge Middle School (Loudoun County, VA)
  • Chantilly Academy (Fairfax County, VA)
  • Franklin Middle School (Fairfax County, VA)
  • Herndon High School (Fairfax County, VA)
  • Kenmore Middle School (Arlington County, VA), and
  • Takoma Park Middle School (Montgomery County, MD).

MASTER OF CEREMONIES

Ellie Krieger

Nutritionist and Dietician, Cookbook Author, host of Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger on Food Network, and Ellie's Real Good Food on PBS

CULINARY MENTOR

Ype Von Hengst

Executive Chef and Co-Founder, Silver Diner
VP of Culinary Operations at Silver Diner

2022 JUDGES

Kevin Tien

Executive Chef, Moon Rabbit, Owner/Exec. Chef Hot Lola's, three-time James Beard nominee, Food & Wine Best New Chef 2018 and co-founder of Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate

David Hagedorn

Restaurant critic: Arlington/Bethesda Magazines; Washington Post contributor; cookbooks author

Shelby McCrone

Co-Executive Chef for Junction Bakery & Bistro brand and winner of Food Network’s 2021 Battle of the Brothers with the Voltaggio brothers

Stefano Marzano

Founder, President and Executive Chef of MightyMeals, the D.C. area’s premier meal prep service

Shane Logan

Virginia Department of Education, Office of School Nutrition Programs (VDOE-SNP) Culinary Specialist

Dahlia Badt

Student (7th Grader), Takoma Park Middle School, Montgomery County, MD | Winner of the 2021 Culinary Challenge

2022 CULINARY CHALLENGE EXHIBITORS

  • null

    Bold Fork Books

  • null

    George Mason University School of Nutrition and Food Studies

  • null

    Junction Bakery & Bistro

  • null

    La Cocina

    Food Samples

  • null

    MightyMeals

    Food Samples

  • null

    Silver Diner

    Culinary Challenge Sponsor

  • null

    VegFund

    Culinary Challenge Sponsor
    Informational

BOOK SIGNING
with James Beard Award Winner
ELLIE KRIEGER

Get your photo taken with
REAL FOOD FOR KIDS’
MR. BROCCOLI

2022 Real Food For Kids Culinary Challenge

IN THE NEWS

A SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR 2022 CULINARY CHALLENGE SPONSORS

Contact us for Sponsorship opportunities.