TVLA students battle in master-chef-style competition

TVLA students created their own recipes to be handed out at Nampa's Traveling Table.

NAMPA – Eight teams of students at the Treasure Valley Leadership Academy competed in a master chef-style competition on Friday afternoon.

The goal was for each team to create an easy-to-make, healthy recipe using ingredients that are commonly found in food pantries. The teams had to prepare their meals as well as present a budget and a recipe for their dishes.

Cecilia Castro prepares a meal for her school’s Friday competition.

At the end of the day, “Mama’s Creamy Alfredo and Papa’s Special Salad” won over the judges. The recipe will soon be available for families at the Traveling Table, a mobile pantry project pioneered by the Healthy Impact Nampa Coalition and the Idaho Foodbank. The program aims to help address local hunger as North Nampa is a food desert — a region where many residents don’t have easy access to healthy food via walking or public transportation.

“I live here in the North side and there’s a lot of low-income families, and they don’t have the money to go out and to drive to the store and do this. For them to take a couple trips just to get these ingredients and make a nice meal at home is really important to me,” said Cecilia Castro, a sophomore at TVLA.

The idea to have a recipe competition was Castro’s, “I figured out how to budget, how to make it, and how to make a whole meal at home. It’s important to show people in my community that [they] can do that as well.”

Since January, student leaders from TVLA work alongside community volunteers to ensure that the Traveling Table makes monthly stops across different areas in North Nampa. At these stops, families in need can pick up food — and soon the winning recipe.

“It is hard, but we can make it easier,” said Cecilia of her interest in helping her community.

The competition is a part of 18 months of students’ work with the Traveling Table. TVLA students designed the food truck’s exterior, outlined the delivery routes and worked different groups to determine the best method of delivery. The project, under the guidance of TVLA’s community engagement teachers Jessica Nielsen and Jill Jordan, is a part of the Treasure Valley Leadership Academy’s goal to build leadership skills and support the community.

Recipes prepared at the competition

  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Chicken Fajitas
  • Flautas a la PLY
  • Fiesta Tacos
  • Chicken Nachos
  • Zucchini Salad
  • Supreme Nachos

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