This year, Westside School District is asking the experts what kids like to eat for lunch. Who are these expert judges? The kids!

The school district has implemented a Student Advisory Council to try new recipes and give their opinions on whether or not they would like to see the product on the school menu. The committee is made up of selected students from different grade levels each time the chef has new recipes for them to try.

On this day, it was National Taco Day and students in the cafeteria were excited to be served Chicken Street Tacos, Beefy Nachos, Spanish Rice, and Baja Corn that looked delicious. The corn was fashioned after Street Corn (aka Elote), but modified with seasonings and cheese to comply with nutritional guidelines. Students also have a full salad bar available to them every day.

During the lunch period, students selected for the Student Advisory Council met with Chef Matt Murr of K-12 Culinary Connections in a separate room where they could sample the new recipes and discuss what they were tasting. Murr served the panel of students Smokehouse Pizza, which had barbecue sauce on it, a mildly spicy Buffalo Chicken Pizza, a Bistro Burger served on a croissant, and a Sunrise Griddler breakfast sandwich made of pancakes and sausage.

While students sampled the new recipes, Murr explained to them how his years of experience brought him to working for K-12 Culinary Connections. Murr shared with the students that he loves being a chef, but chefs work a lot of long hours; and if you’re a good chef you work nights and weekends, because that’s when people go out to eat. Murr said when the opening with Culinary Connections became available, he saw the opportunity to continue doing what he loves, but be able to work hours he preferred.

Students fulfilled their advisory roles as they sampled the new dishes, discussing which recipes they favored and if they had any suggested changes. While none of the food went to waste, the Bistro Burger was a big hit with all the students on the panel. Several also liked the Sunrise Griddler, but many said they don’t eat breakfast at school so they wouldn’t have an opportunity to ever eat it. And what can be said about the pizzas? Well, like most pizza, kids loved it. Whether pizza is barbecued, spicy, or plain cheese it seems pizza is always a hit!