Pomptonian Healthy School Lunch Challenge highlights kids’ culinary skills

Pomptonian Food Service recently held its Annual Healthy School Lunch challenge that encourages students across New Jersey to show off their healthy cooking techniques and creativity.
Mike Buzalka | May 04, 2023

Students from across New Jersey participated in FM Top 50 firm Pomptonian Food Service’s 4th Annual Healthy School Lunch Challenge in honor of National Nutrition Month this March by showing off their culinary skills and creativity to create recipes that include lean protein, feature whole grains, fruits and vegetables and utilize healthy cooking techniques from the comfort of their own homes. This year’s challenge included the additional complexity of incorporating Pomptonian’s local Farm-to-Tray fruit and vegetable choices for March and participating students found fun ways to incorporate rutabagas, celery root, turnips, and/or frozen peaches into their recipes.

This year, for the first time, the competition was extended to High School students, and categories were divided into Preschool-5th grade, 6th-8th grade, and 9th-12th grade competitions. Super Grand Prize winners received a vertical garden for their school, a banner displayed in their school celebrating their success, and their winning recipe featured on their school’s lunch menu. Grand Prize winners were awarded a banner for their school, a trophy, and their winning recipe featured on their school’s lunch menu.

“I am so proud of our students for going above and beyond to create a tasty and healthy dish incorporating March’s local produce,” enthuses Toni Bowman, Pomptonian’s director of nutrition services. “Cooking is a great vehicle for learning about nutrition.”

The Super Grand Prize winners were…
• Peachy Cream Waffles by Antonella Marinelli from Washington School in Nutley
• Rusty’s Corned Beef Hash with Carrot and Turnip Muffins by Rusty Romond from Eisenhower Middle School in Wyckoff
• Peachy Pasta Poultry Salad by Gianluca Luciano, Jesse Sipos, and Barry Indik from Metuchen High School in Metuchen

The Grand Prize winners were…
• Greek Chicken Pita with Root Vegetable Chips by David Rothbart from Clinton Elementary in South Orange-Maplewood
• Greek Chicken with Roasted Rutabagas and Lemon Whole-Wheat Orzo by Dylan Wilson from George Washington School in Mahwah
• Pan-seared Chicken Sandwich with Quinoa Salad and Aquafaba Peach “Nests” by Andrew Williams from Millburn High School Millburn
• Peachy Chicken Adobo by Bryan Wong from Millburn High School Millburn