Two Boulder chefs are raising money and awareness by offering a menu item that meets cost and nutrition guidelines for school cafeteria food.

Along with the Boulder chefs, another 10 chefs nationwide are participating in the Real School Food Challenge from the Boulder-based Chef Ann Foundation. While the foundation has organized local challenges in Boulder and other cities since 2016, this is the first year for a national challenge.

The foundation, now in its 10th year, provides schools and districts with tools, training, resources and funding so they can serve scratch-cooked food using whole ingredients.

For the competition, each participating chef’s restaurant will add a new recipe to its menu with an ingredient budget of $1.25, the average budget schools have for a student meal. The dish also must meet U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional guidelines.

“We want to educate people across the country on the importance of scratch cooking, and to understand how hard it is to do this for $1.25,” said Foundation founder Ann Cooper, who is Boulder Valley School District’s food services director.

The menu items will be sold this month, with proceeds, which will be matched by corporate sponsors, going to the foundation.

Five of the recipes will be selected based on creativity and scalability, and whose chefs will be invited to cook their meals at the StarChefs International Congress Oct. 28 in Brooklyn. Attendees and school food operators will vote for the winning dish.

The two Boulder restaurants participating are Boulder’s River and Woods and Boulder’s Santo.

River and Woods chef Daniel Asher came up with a recipe for Asian chicken sliders that includes local chicken, a veggie stir fry, Vietnamese pickled vegetables, kale and “a really good spicy peanut sauce.”

“We’re excited to be a part of such a cool nationwide experience,” he said.

While $1.25 is a limited budget, he said, chefs are familiar with minimizing food costs and working with tiny profit margins.

“It’s not that crazy,” he said. “It’s just on a much smaller scale.”

Asher said he agreed to participate because school cafeteria food has a “notorious” reputation for poor quality. Instead, he said, schools should be known for tasty and nutritious fare.

“You want to give kids access to clean, healthy, beautiful food, to introduce kids to new flavors and kinds of food,” he said. “I’m a huge advocate of what’s being done through the Chef Ann Foundation.”

Hosea Rosenberg, executive chef and owner of Blackbelly and Santo and winner of “Top Chef” Season 5, is offering sweet potato and black bean enchiladas on the Santo kids’ menu for the competition.

The recipe is one he created for a similar, local competition last year with Justin Gold, founder of Justin’s Nut Butters. As the winning recipe in that competition, the vegetarian and gluten-free enchiladas are offered on Boulder Valley’s school lunch menu.

“It’s always been important to me, but, now that I’m a dad, it means even more to me that kids in school are being fed well,” Rosenberg said.

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