Charlotte Schools Compete in Cook-off to Raise Money for Loaves & Fishes

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On Wednesday, April 18th, student culinary teams from Charlotte Latin School, Charlotte Christian School and Providence Day School will compete in the Flik Invitational Cook-off, an Iron Chef-like competition and fundraising event to support Loaves & Fishes, a local Charlotte nonprofit organization that provides a week’s worth of groceries for our neighbors in need. Flik Independent School Dining, the three schools' foodservice provider, is hosting the event. The North Carolina SweetPotato Commission is supporting the event.

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It is wonderful to see students participating in an event that gives back to their community.  The funds raised will provide our neighbors in need with access to nutritious foods and the opportunity to share meals around the kitchen table.

March 19, 2012 – On Wednesday, April 18th, student culinary teams from Charlotte Latin School, Charlotte Christian School and Providence Day School will compete in the Flik Invitational Cook-off, an Iron Chef-like competition and fundraising event to support Loaves & Fishes, a local Charlotte nonprofit organization that provides a week’s worth of groceries for our neighbors in need. Flik Independent School Dining is hosting the event, taking place at Providence Day School, 5800 Sardis Road, Charlotte, NC, from 5:30 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. Members of the community are invited to attend. Tickets are $20 per adult and $10 per student.

“Children learn so much from cooking instruction, including an understanding of where their food comes from, how it affects their well-being and the cost and effort that goes into making it,” says Ray Mulligan, President of Flik Independent School Dining. “Our school chefs teach these principles to the students on a daily basis through the day-to-day meal program and additional opportunities, such as culinary clubs and food demonstrations. The cook-off is a unique opportunity for students interested in food and cooking to work side-by-side with a professionally-trained chef.”

The night of the competition and fundraiser will be the entertaining part to witness, but it is the six-week culinary program leading up to the competition in which the student chefs learned the most. Upon assembling a team of culinary-minded students, the three Flik Independent School Dining Executive Chefs met with their teams to implement a culinary program in which they learned: food safety principles; knife skills; menu development guidelines; proper table setting; and cooking techniques and food preparation skills for the meals they are preparing at the cook-off competition.

Each team will have the same set of cooking equipment, utensils and budget to prepare a three-course meal for a panel of six judges. Based on Flik Independent School Dining’s belief in serving local, seasonal foods whenever possible, each team is required to incorporate North Carolina-grown sweet potatoes in one of the courses they present. The three-course meals will be judged on taste, presentation, creativity, nutritional balance, team participation and sanitation.

“We are grateful to be the recipient of the funds raised from this fun and educational event,” says Beverly Howard, Executive Director of Loaves & Fishes.  “It is wonderful to see students participating in an event that gives back to their community.  The funds raised will provide our neighbors in need with access to nutritious foods and the opportunity to share meals around the kitchen table.”

The North Carolina SweetPotato Commission is donating fresh, locally-grown sweet potatoes to the constituents of Loaves & Fishes and to the culinary teams for incorporating into their dishes and the chefs for including in the reception menu.

Flik’s team of Executive Chefs are preparing a delicious menu for the reception. Examples of what will be served include: gazpacho shooters with local vegetables; pepper seared tuna on wonton crisps with mango pico de gallo and ginger wasabi coulis; red quinoa and sweet potato cakes with frisee lettuce, pumpkin seed oil and creme fraiche; braised beef short ribs over roasted garlic parmesan and local corn grits with dried cherry chimichurri sauce; and sweet potato cheesecake popsicles with chocolate and pumpkin seeds.

About Loaves & Fishes
Loaves & Fishes is a nonprofit, nondenominational organization that provides a week's worth of nutritious groceries to individuals and families facing a short-term crisis. Through a network of 19 food pantries located throughout Mecklenburg County, Loaves & Fishes provided groceries to 114,177 people in 2011.

About the North Carolina SweetPotato Commission
The North Carolina SweetPotato Commission Inc. is a nonprofit corporation made up of nearly 400 sweet potato growers and the packers, processors and business associates that support them. The commission’s sole purpose is to increase sweet potato consumption through education and promotional activities. North Carolina has ranked as the No. 1 sweet potato producing state in the U.S. since 1971.

About Flik Independent School Dining
Flik Independent School Dining, a division of the Charlotte, NC-based Compass Group, provides dining services for over 135 private schools nationwide. Its team of food and nutrition experts is dedicated entirely to creating fun, healthful and innovative dining solutions for private and independent school communities. Fresh, healthful food preparation utilizing batch cooking techniques and locally and sustainably-sourced ingredients has always been the cornerstone of the company’s operating philosophy.

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Rachel Begun
Rachel Begun Nutrition Communications
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