Buffalo Public Schools Seeks Local Chefs to Participate in Buffalo Farm-to-School Chef Challenge

Buffalo Public Schools Seeks Local Chefs to Participate in Buffalo Farm-to-School Chef Challenge

Buffalo Farm to School Chef Challenge
Press Release/August 10, 2016


Contact: Susan Kirkpatrick

skirkpatrick@bnmc-old.local 716-866-8002


Buffalo Public Schools Seeks Local Chefs to Participate in Buffalo Farm-to-School Chef Challenge

Challenge Issued to Develop New Menu Ideas to Take Advantage of Local, Seasonal Food that Conform to USDA Standards

Buffalo, N.Y., August 10, 2016 – Buffalo Public Schools is seeking local chefs to participate in the Buffalo Farm-to-School Chef Challenge as a means to seek input on recipe development for student lunches that conform to USDA standards and that incorporate local, seasonal food.  Participating chefs will compete against one another as well as against a team of Buffalo Public School students.  Winning recipes will be highlighted on the December school menu in participating Buffalo Public Schools.

The student team, made up of 8-10 students in grades 7-12 will be led by Chef Bobby Anderson, famed Chef recognized for his role in the Season 4 Fox television series Hell’s Kitchen, where he finished 4th place out of 17 contestants under the fiery tutelage of Gordon Ramsay.  Chef Bobby now serves as the Executive Director of F Bites, an organization that uses culinary instruction as a vehicle to develop leadership, professional skills, as well as college and career readiness in youth and adults.

Interested chefs will be challenged to prepare a complete school meal that meets the nutritional requirements as mandated by the USDA Child Nutrition Meal Requirements.  Meal preparation, judging and sampling will take place on October 4 at an event to kick off the 2016-2017 Farm-to-School Program at Southside Elementary School.  The event is intended to engage and educate the school community about local farms and the importance of eating healthy fruits and vegetables.  Interested chefs can learn more and download the wp-contentlication form HERE.  All wp-contentlications must be received no later than August 25.

The Farm-to-School program began last year and is a pilot program for 12 Buffalo Public Schools that have introduced locally grown, seasonal produce to school lunch menus. The Farm-to-School program highlights seasonal offerings, encourages student trial and asks for feedback. The program’s goals are to introduce more fresh, locally grown produce in school lunches and to encourage healthy eating habits in students.

On-site meal preparation and cook time will be held from 2 pm – 4:30 pm and judging and public sampling will take place between 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm at the October 4th event.  The school district will provide all ingredients for the meal preparation.  Meals will be judged on meeting USDA criteria including the use of 2 ounces of protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and how successfully the meal meets the nutritional guidelines of less than 30 grams of fat, less than 10 grams of saturated fat, less than 640 milligrams of sodium and be between 550-650 calories.

Bridget O’Brien Wood, Food Service Director Buffalo Public Schools commented, “The Buffalo Farm to School, Harvest of the Month pilot program has really afforded our students the opportunity to have a voice in their school nutrition program.  These students are trying locally grown foods and learning about New York State agriculture, and they get to tell us what they think about the new menu items. This Chef Challenge is another way to engage our youth in a fun, friendly competition with local area Chefs who can help create wp-contentealing recipes that will be incorporated into the school meal program! We can’t wait to see what they cook up in October!”

Chef Anderson added, “Both the Buffalo Public Schools and our team at F Bites see the importance of engaging kids in the power of their own future. This Chef Challenge allows them to use their creativity and explore new opportunities while having a role in creating healthier schools. By creating menus for their classmates, we hope to further their engagement and their understanding of healthier food choices.”

The winning meal will be chosen based on the highest number of points awarded for meeting nutritional standards, as well as for taste, visual presentation, ease of replication, and other factors.

Partners in the Farm to School Program include the Buffalo Public Schools, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP), Grassroots Gardens, and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc (BNMC).  Pilot schools encompass grades Kindergarten through 12 and include Buffalo Public Schools #27, #32, #33, #43, #54, #64, #94, #195, #198, #81, #93, and #301.