Leataata Floyd students taste-test ‘Veggie of the Year’ dishes

e-Connections Post Leataata Floyd
Sampling the avocado mousseCelebrating AmeriCorps team membersSuperintendent Banda with students

Think of it as a local version of “Top Chef” with really, really tough judges.

Leataata Floyd Elementary School students taste-tested vegetable dishes crafted by five high-profile Sacramento chefs on Tuesday as part of Food Literacy Center’s fourth annual Veggie of the Year competition.

Chefs Kurt Spataro of Paragary Restaurant Group, Oliver Ridgeway of Grange, Suleka Lindley of Thai Basil, Jay Veregge of The Firehouse and Keith Breedlove of The Culinerdy Cruzer presented imaginative takes on beets, cauliflower, avocado, nopales and collards.

Food Literacy staff also announced details about the program’s expansion courtesy of an AmeriCorps program award. In the next two months, Food Literacy Center will be recruiting and training 30 new AmeriCorps service members as Food Geniuses, the instructors who deliver their cooking-based curriculum. Currently, Food Literacy instructors work after school in six SCUSD schools.

“This award marks a melon-sized milestone for Food Literacy Center,” said Amber Stott, the group’s founding executive director. “It brings us closer to our dream of edible education for all students. With help from AmeriCorps service members, we can meaningfully expand our programs.”

Food Literacy’s mission is to encourage children – often the most discerning farm-to-fork fans – to eat more vegetables. The Veggie of the Year contest helps bring attention to the role fresh food plays in improving student nutrition, which helps kids stay healthy. The competition starts with the posting of 10 vegetable candidates online. The public was invited to vote for favorites and the list was winnowed to the top five. Each chef is then assigned a vegetable contender and asked to create a dish for student judges to evaluate.

The winner of the September 13 taste testing will be announced on September 16.