Executive Chef Stefano Marzano Judges 10th Annual Real Food for Kids Culinary Challenge

Executive Chef Stefano Marzano Judges 10th Annual Real Food for Kids Culinary Challenge

Photos by: Real Food for Kids

MightyMeals’ co-founder and executive chef, Stefano Marzano was honored to be one of six judges at the 10th Annual Real Food for Kids Culinary Challenge held on March 5, 2022, at Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria, VA.  Chef Stefano joined other celebrity chefs judges at this annual competition which tasks local middle/high school students to create a school lunch dish that meets USDA guidelines. The winning dish is then featured on school lunch menus in the Greater Washington D.C. Region.

This year, the winning dishes were:

1st place: Quinoa Quiche | Kenmore Middle School


2nd Place + Winner of the Community Choice Award: Vegijita Wrapadilla | Franklin Middle School

3rd Place: Tropical Stir Fry | Herndon High School  (Chef Stefano was a big fan!)

“As a Northern Virginia native, it is so important to me and the rest of the MightyMeals team to give back to our community,” remarked Chef Stefano. “When COVID hit, we knew we wanted to find an organization to support with meal donations. Real Food for Kids has been a great partner in distributing donated MightyMeals to the communities that need it most.”

In addition to Chef Stefano, the judging panel for this year’s Culinary Challenge included Kevin Tien, executive chef at Moon Rabbit, three-time James Beard nominee and co-founder of Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate; David Hagedorn, restaurant critic for Arlington and Bethesda Magazines, and cookbook author; Shelby McCrone, co-executive chef at Junction Bakery & Bistro and winner of Food Network’s 2021 Battle of the (Voltaggio) Brothers; Shane Logan, Virginia Department of Education, Office of School Nutrition Programs (VDOE-SNP) Culinary Specialist; and Dahlia Badt, student, Takoma Park Middle School, Montgomery County (Winner of the 2021 Culinary Challenge).

This year, the public was given the opportunity to taste and judge the dishes, an informative panel discussion with Barbara Harral, Nutrition Services Director at Montgomery County Public Schools; this year’s emcee Ellie Krieger, James Beard Award Winner, Nutritionist and Dietician, cookbook author, host of Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger on Food Network; and Ype Von Hengst, co-founder and executive chef with Silver Diner restaurant group. The panel was moderated by Bonnie Benwick, former deputy editor of the food section at the Washington Post. Attendees were also able to sample food from MightyMeals and other exhibitors.

For more information on the 10th Annual Real Food for Kids Culinary Challenge please visit https://www.realfoodforkids.org/culinarychallenge.

About Real Food for Kids
Real Food for Kids improves health outcomes for children and families through innovative, collaborative programs in which the communities we serve play a pivotal role in creating change.  Since 2010, Real Food for Kids has advocated for and won positive changes to school food policies and generated institutionalized support for our goal of healthy school food as a critical component of children’s wellness and academic success.