May 2013
As posted by Erin Schermele (Great Falls) on

The Great Falls Public School District held its first Iron Chef competition on Monday.

The event pitted 18 culinary teams against each other, with students preparing recipes they would like to see on a school lunch menu.

Jennifer Spellman, GFPS food service director, explained, “It’s an opportunity for them to see what it’s like and what we do every day. They are going to learn because this might be a profession they are going to go into and they are going to help us see what it’s all about.”

The chef’s meals had to meet school lunch dietary guidelines, which include a grain, vegetable, fruit, and meat or meat substitute.

The Great Falls High School team prepared a quinoa and black bean burger with homemade wheat buns, and also cuts of veggies and fresh fruit salad for the side.

The CMR High School team made BBQ meatballs served with peppers over brown rice; their fruit was a side of mandarin oranges.

In addition to giving students a way to practice their culinary skills, Spellman says this competition shows students how to cook for a large group of people with limited resources.

Spellman noted, “It’s easy for someone to say, ‘Well why don’t you make X,’ well, if we don’t have enough pans and we don’t have enough oven space or truck space or enough carriers…that is all compounding. So we might want to do a lot for our students, but maybe we can’t, so how do we do that?”

In the end, CMR’s tangy meatballs won them the top honor, but GFHS students will be ready for a re-match next year.

The recipes from all 18 teams who participated in the competition will be sampled on Wednesday by elementary and middle school students.

The top selections will be put on a school lunch menu.

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