School Chefs Team Up for Culinary Competition at CNIC

January 18, 2013 – The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in San Antonio hosted a “Chopped”-style cooking competition for SNA members at the 2013 Child Nutrition Industry Conference (CNIC) this past weekend.

On Saturday, nutrition directors from school districts all over the country battled it out to prepare delicious and economical meals that meet the new meal pattern requirements. CIA chefs joined in on the fun, too – Chef Michael Katz provided a culinary demonstration, lectured participants on flavor profiles and recipe development, and gave pointers and tips.


SNA members prepared healthy meals as part of a cooking competition at the Culinary Institute of America

But before they got cooking, each of the six teams hit the local Farmers Market with $25, collecting whatever fresh ingredients they want to feature in their recipes. Some of the inventive recipes included an avocado ranch dressing, jalapeno relish, risotto fries, southwest tuna wraps, and black bean soup served in a tortilla bowl. Each team was judged on creativity, team cooperation and planning.

The winning dish? Tuna casserole, fiesta chicken salad, local greens, Arborio rice, and a pineapple & strawberry cup. Congrats to the winning team members:

  • Julia Bauscher, SNS, Jefferson County School District (Ky.)
  • JoAnne Corcoran, Sheldon Independent School District (Texas)
  • Dora Rivas, MS, RD, SNS, Dallas (Texas) Independent School District
  • Linda Stoll, SNS, Jeffco School District (Colo.)
  • Executive Chef Robert Lafond, J.T.M Food Group

A complete recap of CNIC 2013 will be available in the April issue of School Nutrition.

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