Chartwells School Dining Services Congratulates 2011 Cooking up Change
National Healthy Cooking Contest Winners
Rye Brook, NY, May 25, 2011—Chartwells School Dining Services is pleased to congratulate the winning team from
Jacksonville, FL in the 2011 Cooking up Change National Healthy Cooking Contest. The finals were held at the USDA
headquarters in Washington, DC on May 23 . The students, Alexus Baldwin, Leoniqua Jackson and Denver Singletary, hail from
Frank H. Peterson Academies of Technology, part of the Duval County Public School district which Chartwells serves. The team
impressed the panel of judges with their menu of Caribbean-inspired beef rib salad with Moroccan rice and a sweet potato
corn bread muffin.
As a national sponsor, Chartwells worked with Healthy Schools Campaign to host qualifying contests over the last few months
in five cities across the country. The contest challenged teams of high school students studying culinary arts to create a
healthy, great-tasting school meal with only six steps of preparation, using ingredients commonly available to school food
service and many of the other constraints that school nutrition professionals face.
The six teams of finalists included teams from Chicago (IL), St. Louis (MO), Denver (CO), Winston-Salem (NC), Jacksonville (FL)
and Washington, D.C. Honorable mentions went to two Chartwells school locations. Students from Chicago’s Richards Career
Academy, Gerardo Garcia, Ruby Gutierrez and Claudia Ramirez won “Outstanding Side Dish” for their fruit and vegetable-
infused “Soup of Sunshine.” Students Corrine Hertz, Hayden Cramer and Isaac Barham, representing Winston-Salem’s Career
Center, won “Outstanding Display” for their menu of pulled chicken BBQ sandwich, baked sweet potato fries and a yogurt-fruit
“Our challenge was to create a healthy meal so students could eat vegetables without knowing they were in there,” said
student chef Ruby Guttierez, Chicago, of the team’s Soup of Sunshine dish. “Our goal was to keep it simple, simple, simple,
because kids can be picky eaters like I used to be,” said student chef Corrine Hertz of the Winston-Salem team, adding that
they created a recipe with a slow-cooked flavor that was easy for cafeteria workers to duplicate in schools.
The panel of judges included renowned chefs, farmers, grassroots organizations, legislative departments as well as
representatives from the Secretary of Education, Secretary of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services,
Department of Education, American Federation of Teachers, and the Let’s Move Initiative. “Chartwells is proud to be a part of
this wonderful event with Cooking up Change as we believe in the students’ power to create both a meal and the message that
reaches their peers on a national level,” said Margie Saidel RD, Vice President of Nutrition for Chartwells, also a panel judge.
The winning team from Jacksonville entered the competition because they enjoyed the challenge: to create a healthy, tasty
menu that fit within nutritional guidelines. “This competition really showed us the mission behind the cooking,” said
sophomore Singletary. Carla Jackson, assistant principal was beyond excited for her team and Chartwells Chef Katie Self. “Chef
Katie Self was truly ‘selfless’ as she helped the students prepare for the completion,” said Jackson, “The kids had the vision
worked as a team; implementing, refining and redefining. Chef Katie guided them while letting them do their thing.”
The winning team receives a medal and trophy; a full set of cookware; a generous gift certificate to a cooking-supply store and
a fabulous fine-dining culinary experience in their home town. The team will also enjoy a special dinner at a local, sustainable
fine-dining restaurant and have a chance to go behind the scenes with the chef.
Not surprisingly, the Jacksonville team intends to seek culinary careers. To which, a very proud Jackson advised, “Establish your
vision, work the plan and never give up.”
To learn more about Cooking up Change and view photos of the event, visit: www.cookingupchange.org