Milby HS team takes second place in national Cooking up Change competition

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What do you get when you combine chicken, zucchini, pinto beans, bananas, and yogurt?

You get the menu that snagged second place in the national Cooking up Change contest held this week at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C.

The Broadway Buffs of Milby High School — made up of students Roberto Blas, Jordyn Moore, and Esteven Mata — beat out four teams from Boston, Chicago, Dallas, and Troy, Ala., to bring home the second-place trophy. The team from Orange County took top honors.

“We worked our hardest and we got second place. I’m proud of that,” Mata said. “I’m excited to see how everybody reacts when we get back.”

Cooking up Change requires high school culinary students to create healthy, tasty menus that adhere to the same nutritional and financial requirements outlined for the national school meal program. Specifically, each dish must meet specific requirements for nutritional values such as sodium and proteins and can’t cost more than $1.40 per serving.

As part of the competition, each team prepared two presentation plates, as well as samples of their dishes for 14 judges. The teams also prepared samples of one dish for guests and visitors at the competition.

The Broadway Buffs’ menu featured zucchini pasta with cajun chicken, pinto bean and tomato soup, and bananas with yogurt. Their meal was so tasty, one judge requested their soup recipe.

“Second place or first place — we’re still one of the best culinary districts in the United States,” Nutrition Services Officer Betti Wiggins said. “I’m so proud of them and the hard work they’ve put in. They’re winners, and they’ll always be winners to me.”

The Broadway Buffs advanced to the national competition after beating out six other teams to win the local HISD Cooking up Change competition in April. At the local competition, they won a host of prizes, as well as scholarships to the Art Institute of Houston and the honor of having their menu served at HISD high schools during the 2018-2019 school year.

At the national contest, the team walked away with a new cutlery set, gift cards, and a trophy.
Following the competition, Blas, Moore and Mata, along with fellow competitors, met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of healthy school lunches.