Academica sponsored the Charter Schools Student Taste Testing and Food Expo for the Lunch Consortium on Tuesday, February 6, 2018.  The event was a huge success and took place at Mater Gardens Charter School, where the Mater Gardens Student Council and Lighthouse Team were on hand to facilitate information to all the schools that partook in this unique experience.

Approximately 475 “official tasters”, from 22 schools in grades 4th-10th came to Mater Gardens to participate in a tasting of a variety of 44 new food items to be sampled for inclusion in next year’s school lunch.  Cheney Bros., the food distributor, brought over 16 food service companies and offered students delicious samples of lasagna, cheese bread with marinara sauce, boneless chicken wings, stir fry vegetables, burgers (veggie, meat and turkey) as well as yummy treats like ice cream bars, cookies and donuts.

Students were invited to evaluate a variety of innovative menu concepts and sample new flavors.  After completing their tasting, students used a Quick Response Code (QR code) to answer a survey and provide feedback on what they liked and disliked. The QR code is a barcode that is scanned using a smartphone to access the survey.  The Lunch Consortium then collected the opinions of the students electronically, which made the experience even more exciting for the students.  There were also paper surveys available for the students that wanted to write their answers.  This exercise was extremely helpful to assist the Lunch Consortium in designing a menu for the schools that will offer more choices for these students as well as improve the quality of the meals served at their schools.

There were picnic tables and music for entertainment and the students had a great time! Students from the City of Hialeah Educational Academy also did double duty as photographers and videographers of the event.

There were many tasters from each of the following schools:

City of Hialeah Educational Academy
Doral Elementary
Gibson Charter School
Mater International Studies
Mater Middle/High
Mater Elementary
Mater Gardens
Mater Lakes Middle/High
iMater Middle/High
Mater Beach
Pinecrest Prep Middle/High
Somerset Dade
Somerset Silver Palms
Somerset City Arts
Somerset Oaks
Somerset South Homestead Elementary
Somerset South Homestead Middle/High
SLAM! Miami
Somerset Central Miramar
Somerset Chapel Trail
Somerset Prep North Lauderdale
Somerset Key