Smokin’ Powerhouse Chili takes first place at the “Making Healthy School Meals Easy” Challenge

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) and the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) partnered to host the Making Healthy School Meals Easy Challenge at the 2012 IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center, June 25–June 28.

The challenge required a team of experts to convert a recipe from the 2011 USDA Recipes for Healthy Kids competition into a manufactured product for wide spread distribution for school cafeterias. The product was judged on nutritional content, flavor, cost and realistic application in a school cafeteria.

The challenge winner was Team Z-Trim with Smokin' Powerhouse Chili. Team Arizona took second place with Porcupine Sliders and Team Delicious placed third with the Roasted Fish Crispy Slaw Wrap.

Four teams participated in the challenge. The winning team received recognition, bragging rights and a gold medal.

The ACF and IFT created this competition to increase the accessibility of healthy foods to schools cafeterias across the nation. The winning team’s manufacture partner will have the rights to develop the recipe for widespread distribution.

View event photos on the ACF Chefs Flickr page.

Making Healthy School Meals Easy Challenge Teams

Team Arizona

Recipe: Porcupine Sliders

Lynn Abarr-Boubelik, Vivion Inc., food technologist
Sidney Brodsky, James Gerard Foods, chef and manufacturer
Danielle Daughtery, Glendale Union High School, school nutrition professional

Team Delicious

Recipe: Roasted Fish Crispy Slaw Wrap

J. Desmond Keefe,III, CEC, CCE, Southern New Hampshire University, chef
Andrea Hatziyannis, Stonyfield Farms, food technologist
Abraham White, Newly Wed Foods, Inc, manufacturer

Team Z-Trim

Recipe: Smoking Powerhouse Chili

Lynda Carroll, Z-Trim Ingredients, team leader
Aili Yang, Z-Trim Ingredients, food scientist
Erin Ryan, Z-Trim Ingredients, chef

Team Southeast

Recipe: Central Valley Harvest Bake

Joe Romano, Fix Health & Wellness, chef
Darryl Holliday, CRC, Kajun Kettle Foods, Inc, food technologist
John M. Schulze, CC, Zydeco Bistro, LLC, chef
Molly Mancini, Winter Gardens, manufacturer

Event judges: celebrity chef Charles Wilson, executive chef for Caesars Palace, Las Vegas; food technologist Kit Kiefer, CEC, CCE, AAC, executive chef and director of culinary services for Schwan Food Company; Judy Turner, manager of food ingredient applications for Tate and Lyle, Decatur, Ill.; Chef Michael McGreal, CEC, CCE, CHE, MCFE, FMP, CHA, culinary department chair at Joliet Junior College, Chicago, Ill.; USDA representative Rachel Dickens, program specialist for special nutrition programs, Western regional office, San Francisco, Calif. The judges’ panel also included two culinary students, winners of Clark County School District’s 2012 Junior Iron Chef Competition, Angel Mora and Alexis Taylor from East Career and Technical Academy.

ACF president, Chef Michael Ty, CEC, AAC represented the ACF at the event and participated in the award ceremony.

For more information and complete details on team requirements, please read the Official Rules.