It was the seventh year for the Real Food for Kids’ Culinary Challenge, held Saturday in Alexandria, but it was the first year with a Loudoun team in the competition.
The nonprofit program is focused on elevating school food through collaboration with school districts and engagement with administrators, students and parents about healthy eating.
A three-member team from the culinary class at the Academies of Loudoun—Alec Correa, Bruce Caylor and Danielle Malloy—competed with 10 other teams from Fairfax, Prince William, Arlington, and Montgomery County high schools and middle schools. They were charged with creating a school lunch dish that meets USDA guidelines for school meals. An additional 13 teams created breakfast and smart snack options.
The team from Takoma Park Middle School in Montgomery County, MD, took first place with a Winter Bowl. As part of the prize, the meal will be part of the school lunch menu next year in the five participating school districts.
The event was judged by a panel that included celebrity chefs Spike Mendelsohn and Cathal Armstrong and Bonnie Benwick, deputy food editor of the Washington Post. Chef Ype Von Hengst of Silver Diner served as the student advocate for the 11 teams presenting school lunch dishes and was a judge of the 13 teams creating breakfast and smart snack options.