Kellogg’s Away From Home and After School Matters (ASM), a nonprofit organization that provides after-school and summer opportunities to Chicago public high school teens, has joined forces with top Chicago chefs for a student culinary competition featuring MorningStar Farms and Kellogg products.
The competition divided a group of 30 students in ASM’s culinary program into ten teams and tasked them with creating unique recipes within “salty” and “sweet” categories, incorporating Kellogg products into their ingredients. Each team was paired with a culinary industry leader to mentor them throughout the competition. Products used in the competition included MorningStar Farms plant-based proteins, Froot Loops, Pringles, Rice Krispies, and more.
“At Kellogg, we recognize the importance of providing culinary career opportunities for our youth and we know the After School Matters culinary programs make a meaningful difference in the community year after year,” said Lisa Favia, senior director, Away from Home Foodservice, Kellogg Co. “Supporting community initiatives and organizations like After School Matters is a key way we’re fulfilling Kellogg’s Better Days Promise to advance sustainable and equitable access to food and create better days for 3 billion people by the end of 2030.”
Notable culinary artists who served as mentors and judges for the competition include Chef Gail Gand, former host of the Food Network’s “Sweet Dreams” and 2001 James Beard Award winner; Meg Galus, executive pastry chef, Boka Restaurant Group, three-time James Beard Award Finalist, 2017 Jean Bachet Pastry Chef of the Year; and Martial Noguier, executive chef and owner of Bistronomic and two-time James Beard nominee.
“We are proud to partner with Kellogg, knowing their belief in investing in our young people and their futures. This summer's cooking competition exposed our teens to different career paths in the culinary industry and empowered them to think creatively by producing unique recipes,” said After School Matters CEO Mary Ellen Caron. “We are especially grateful for our instructors like Chef Gloria Hafer who has gone above and beyond for almost 30 years to support our young people and provide them life changing opportunities to work and learn from culinary mentors like the ones they partnered with this summer.”
Additional competition judges included:
- Amanda Puck, strategic brand manager, Mariano’s, former host of WTTW’s "Check, Please"' and two-time Emmy Award Winner
- Monique Javaneeka, sous chef, Frontera Grill
- Matthew Jost, culinary business development manager, Kellogg’s Away From Home
- Heath Schecter, culinary business development manager, Kellogg’s Away From Home
- Michelle Parucci, culinary instructor, Washburne Culinary and Hospitality Institute
- Christine Korting, pastry chef and sales manager, AUI Fine Foods
“It’s an honor to work with an organization like After School Matters that is dedicated to enriching students' lives,” said Chef Heath Schecter, competition judge and culinary business development manager at Kellogg Company. “This group of students is extremely talented and it was so inspiring to see their passion for the culinary arts throughout the entire process.”
The first round of the competition was held on Friday, July 22 at Gately Park in Chicago. Four of the ten teams, two per “sweet” and “savory” category, went on to the second and final round of judging which took place on Tuesday, Aug. 2 at Kellogg’s Away From Home corporate headquarters in Naperville, Ill., where teens received a guided tour of the Kellogg facility and listened to a panel of Kellogg chefs share their stories and career paths.
The winning team recipe from the “savory” category, led by chef mentor Chef Tonie Houke of La Rabida Children’s Hospital, was a Japanese Curry made with MorningStar Farms Incogmeato Chik’n Tenders. A No Bake Apple Cheesecake made with a Pop-Tarts crust won the “sweet” category and the team was led by chef mentor Chef Mentor Jimmy MacMillan of Pastry Virtuosity. The ASM teens from these front-running teams will participate in the famous Bud Billiken parade on Saturday, August 13 in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, where they will have the opportunity to create and serve their winning dishes for parade goers.