The Chopped Challenge

BY Kim Gainey (McArdle)

 Cape Cod Collaborative – Bourne 

Project Description

This hands-on learning project is based on the hit show “Chopped” where contestants are given a basket of ingredients to create a dish that is tasted and judged for its creativity and deliciousness.

The Waypoint Academy has started a food bank program at the school to benefit the high percentage of students who deal with food and nutrition challenges. In collaboration with the Falmouth Service Center, we provide a bag of non-perishable food for our students to take home every other Friday to ensure they and their families have nutritious food when they are not in school. My objective for The Chopped Challenge is to empower our students to build independence and creativity for meal preparation and food handling competency and safety.

Students don’t know what their food bags will contain before it is delivered to the school. With the help of this grant we will develop two student teams, a middle school team and a high school team to compete against each other. Each week when the food arrives the teams will be given a food bank bag to work with. They will be responsible for accessing the products in the bag and deciding as a team what they are going to create. They will have about 40 minutes to make and present their unique and creative nutritious dish under the direction of the team staff member. The results will be judged by the students and recipes will be given out with the food program bags.

The goal is to provide students with practical experience and knowledge so that the food donations they take home are utilized and truly benefit them and their families.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)

The success of The Chopped Challenge will be become evident in two ways. First, through the participation of students in the activity we will be able to see the level enthusiasm and to get feedback directly from them. Second, we will send surveys to both the students as well as the families to inquire: 1) If they cook more since the start of The Chopped Challenge,  2) If they have cooked any of the food prepared on The Chopped Challenge and 3)  What other information might be useful to help utilize the available foods. A comment section will also be available for feedback.

Benefit to the students and the school

The majority of our students qualify for the state’s free lunch program and we also have incorporated a breakfast program. This means all our students have access to a healthy breakfast and lunch daily. Our new food bank program is filling the need for food in our student’s homes, especially during long periods away from our school such as weekends and holidays. This grant will help us show our students how to use the food bank resources to create meals while learning basic cooking skills, cooperation skills and nutrition. All this while building camaraderie and excitement for this new program. Plus it will be fun!

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable

This project will be ready to start as soon as the resources arrive. Our food program has been running for 6 months and we have the kitchen space available as well as an enthusiastic staff.