Thanks to Cheddar’s for letting me take a peek at the Cheddar’s Kids Fit Menu Cooking Challenge! And get a preview of new kid-friendly dishes incorporating fruits and vegetables
I’ve watched a few cooking competitions on television, but now I can say I’ve seen one in real life. Dallas-area high school culinary students competed at the Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Headquarters Test Kitchen. These students were tasked with creating kid-friendly and fun dishes incorporating fruits and vegetables into their dishes.
I arrived that morning, along with some other fabulous Dallas bloggers, to watch the competition unfold.
As a Mom of a high school student I was so impressed with all of the students competing and the dishes that they created. Plus, the winning dishes will be featured on the kids menu at select DFW Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen locations, providing healthy menu options for kids to choose from.
Along with those of us watching the competition there were also a panel of judges who would be judging the dishes. The judges included Ian Baines, President and CEO of Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, and Tara O’Donnell, Chopped Junior Winner.
There was of course nutrition criteria for all of the menu items. The meals had to contain a minimum combined total of one cup fruit and/or vegetables.
The meals also had to meet other guidelines including:
- Calories – 550 kcal or less
- Total fat – up to 30% of total calories
- Saturated fat – up to 10% of total calories
- Trans fat – 1 mg or less
- Sodium – 850 mg or less
- Fiber – 2 grams or more
- Total sugar – up to 30% of total calories
- Added sugar – less than 10% of total calories
There are currently over 45 schools in the DFW area that are involved with the Kid’s Fit program, which is a partnership between Cheddar’s and Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas.
Four schools were represented at the Kids Fit Menu Cooking Challenge. Kids Fit has partnered with these school’s programs for years and selected these students because they are continuing their education in culinary arts after high school.
Each school was assigned a different category of menu type, from pasta to chicken. The students presented their plan to the judges and then went to the kitchen to cook. When the dishes were finished they presented them to the judges and answered questions.
The judges were able to try all of the dishes and then offer immediate feedback about what they liked and what they thought could be improved.
The judges took plenty of notes so that they could determine the winner of the cooking challenge. And the group (or groups) who would see their dishes on a menu at select Dallas/Fort Worth locations.
In the end the judges choose two winners! And each of the students on those teams has received a scholarship from Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen.
Who were the winning teams? Buinger Career and Technology Education Academy (HEB ISD) and Jack E Singley Academy (Irving ISD).
And this summer I’ll be taking my family to a local Dallas/Fort Worth Cheddar’s so my kids can taste those new menu items! And of course I’ll be sharing our thoughts about the new dishes right here.
About Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen is built on three basic principles: simple, honest, and natural ingredients. And each of their scratch-made recipes are handcrafted with care and time. Cheddar’s founders believed when a meal is prepared and cooked fresh just for you, it not only tastes better, it makes you feel good.
The kids and I will be heading to Cheddar’s soon to taste test the Kids Fit Menu winning items!
Cheddar’s is declaring 2017 the year for goodness. And who inspires more goodness than mom?
From now through August 20, 2017, your readers can help inspire goodness by joining the conversation. We’re encouraging people to use the form on the site to share stories about someone they think inspires goodness – each website submission enters both the nominator and nominee for a chance to win $1,000! The next winner will be drawn June 9, 2017.
And for Mother’s Day I’m teaming up with Cheddar’s to giveaway a $25 Cheddar’s Gift Card. Because who inspires more goodness than mom? Enter below!