The Healthy Lunch Bunch
The students brought along a spread of chicken-vegetable jambalaya, jalapeño cornbread and cucumber salad. The recipes, which they had developed in their school's culinary program, won the 2009 Cooking Up Change competition.
Cooking Up Change is an annual contest sponsored by the Healthy Schools Campaign that challenges students in Chicago Public Schools to develop a healthy lunch menu.
Since first lady Michelle Obama's announcement of her fight against childhood obesity, the intersection of health and education has moved to the front of the national debate. The Healthy Schools Campaign has been leading that fight for years with advocacy and policy proposals.
The winners from Tilden went to Washington, D.C., to serve their meal and lend their voices to the call for funding for better school meals.
Here, student chefs Lashonda Livingston, Aljibri Reed, Henry Walton, Cari Smith and Jakaia Franklin prepare to present their winning healthy school lunch at a briefing on Capitol Hill.
While the original contest is only open to Chicago high school students, any high school or college students across the country can enter the new one. According to Mark Bishop, deputy director of the Healthy Schools Campaign, this national competition will be spiced up with additional challenges including "using locally procured items, identifying farm-to-school programs, making sure they meet stringent nutrition criteria and tasting good."
In this photo, advocates, members of Congress, staffers and reporters fill the room for a press conference on school nutrition reform—and a free lunch.
In this photo, the student chefs from Tilden chop vegetables and prepare a healthy salad at the briefing. "You can have healthy food and it can be good food too," Walton says.
In this photo, Karen Duncan, national honorary co-chair of Cooking Up Change and wife of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, congratulates the student chefs from Tilden.
"What we've done in Chicago really is the on-the-ground embodiment of what Michelle Obama is talking about—in trying to get school food reform, in trying to engage teachers and students and parents and community members to prioritize students' health."
Here, students from Tilden share their story and insight on school food with reporters.
"Everyone was like: "Good job. This is just so good for being a healthy school lunch. This is great,'" Franklin says.
By the time the lunch rush ended, the Longworth cafeteria was completely sold out of the meal.
Then, it was time for a flight back to Chicago to get ready for school.
Get the Tilden chefs' winning recipes for chicken-vegetable jambalaya, jalapeño cornbread and cucumber salad.
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