Aug 2, 2022 - News

Sprucing up CPS food

Photo of a mini pudding-like cup on a table.
Chickpea chocolate spread is one of the potential new items on the CPS menu next year. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

👋 Hey, it's Monica. I stopped by Whittier Elementary School in Pilsen last month to taste the future of CPS food.

  • This was one of 40 summer tastings the district is holding to help shape the upcoming school year's new menu.

What happened: CPS caterer Open Kitchens tested veggie pasta, breakfast tacos and chocolate hummus with community members.

  • I adored the garlicky pasta with carrots and broccoli as well as the not-too-sweet chickpea chocolate spread that recalled a peanut butter cup.
  • The breakfast taco didn't thrill me.

Quick takes: The Carrizales family evaluated dishes at a cafeteria together and shared their feedback with us:

  • Mateo (eighth grade): "The breakfast taco is really good, but the pasta could've been warmer."
  • Marie Theresa (fourth grade): "The chocolate hummus is so delicious."
Photo of kids trying food at a table.
Maximilian (left), Marie Theresa, dad and Mateo Cesar Carrizales try new CPS dishes at Whittier Elementary this summer. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

What they're saying: Popular dishes will be added to the menu, but "if they don't like them and tell us why, we are either going to tweak the recipes or not add them," CPS nutrition support director Jason Mojica tells Axios.

What's next: CPS officials say they are still finalizing next year's menu.

  • But if the chocolate hummus wins out, expect happy kids with brown stains on their clothes this fall.
  • As far as the controversial "lentil burger" that got the cold shoulder from students last year, Mojica says, "that recipe probably needs a few revisions."
Photo of a school lunch on a tray.
The breakfast taco with potato and egg from Open Kitchens may land on this year's school menu. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

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