Student chefs honored, recipe scaled up for cafeteria


The Georgia Department of Education School Nutrition Program, as part of the Shake It Up in School Nutrition Initiative, held its second annual Farm to School Student Chef Competition March 14, 2018, with the team “2 Chicks and Jared” from Jackson County Comprehensive High School taking third place. Brooke Curtis, family and consumer science teacher at JCCHS, is the team’s advisor.

You’ll find photos from the competition and the students’ recipe on pages 10-11 of the competition’s cookbook, which includes all the finalists’ entries.

According to the organizers, Shake It Up, founded in partnership with the Georgia State Board of Education and Georgia State School Superintendent, was created to “enhance the flavor of school meals and improve the perception of Georgia School Nutrition Programs.”

It cites three key pillars: 1) Tasty Meals, 2) Friendly Cafeterias, and 3) Happy Schools.

The initiative connects with students through the Student Chef Competition, which includes a recipe contest and cooking competition.

“Teams competed to develop a nutritious, student-friendly recipe that includes local foods and is easily incorporated into the school food service program. Thirty-five recipes were received from teams across the state. Recipes were reviewed and judged on whether they met the National School Lunch Program meal pattern and
nutrition standards for grades 9-12, incorporation of local ingredients, use of culinary skills, ease of use by the school food service operation, recipe presentation, recipe description, and creativity,” according to Georgia Department of Education School Nutrition Program Farm to School Specialist Laura Tanase, who prepared the cookbook.

Seven recipes met the criteria and finalists competed in the cooking contest, held in March at the William S. Hutchings College and Career Academy in Macon.REC

“The Cooking Competition allowed students to prepare and present their dishes to a panel of three judges. During food preparation, student teams were judged on sanitation and food safety. The judges scored each team on a brief presentation of their dish, overall appeal, appearance, execution, and taste.”

The 2 Chicks and Jared team — Erin Cook, Jared Foster, and Keely Cudd — was one of two JCCHS teams entering the competition. The black bean burger created by Ana Gomez, Jade Fletcher, Lexi Redmon, and Evan Welch was one of several plant-based foods featured in a Jackson County School System professional learning day in February 2019.

The University of Georgia’s Grady Newsource reporter Donovan Harris produced a feature that included a spotlight on the team and the school system’s training day (see below).

Student Chefs Develop New School Lunch Menu Option
February 2019

Grady Newsource at the University of Georgia produced this story on Feb. 22, 2019, about the other Jackson County Comprehensive High School students who entered the state Farm to School, Shake It Up Student Chef competition. It also highlights the growing interest in plant-based foods for our school cafeteria menus.