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Taste of California Challenge Grant Awarded to LVJUSD Child Nutrition Team

June 3, 2021 - Livermore, CA - School lunches in the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD) will have even more of a home-cooked feel in the next school year, as LVJUSD Child Nutrition staff will be creating some original recipes that make use of fresh, local food.

The LVJUSD Child Nutrition Services Team has been awarded $8,500 as a recipient of the Team Nutrition Taste of California Standardized Recipe Challenge (Taste of CA Challenge) Grant by the California Department of Education. With this grant, the Child Nutrition team will be able to develop entree or side dish recipes using locally grown products that will meet the diversity of students’ taste expectations.

“The first recipe to showcase in our school kitchens will be Brentwood corn, roasted and brought to life with seasonings such as cilantro and panela cheese, and served in our Calimex bowl,” said Dana Dodge, LVJUSD Director of Child Nutrition Services.

The LVJUSD Team was selected as one of only twenty teams across the State, and was the only team in Alameda County to be awarded this grant. Applicants were selected based on their project design, agency and leadership capacity, sustainability, and recipe identification and proposal. Recipes proposed include a variety of California-grown products including avocados, cauliflower, corn, kiwi, lentils, lemons, zucchini, and parsnips. 

For the recipe to qualify as a USDA Certified Standardized Recipe, the LVJUSD Child Nutrition Team will prepare the recipe three times to develop standardization of process and yield. They will then engage students in taste testing before offering the entree as part of the school menu. 

The designation of this recipe as a USDA Certified Standardized Recipe will be a real achievement by the Child Nutrition Team. “I am thrilled to put some real culinary details into a dish that will bring scratch cooking principles into the schools. This grant will allow the Child Nutrition Team to explore new cooking techniques and to experiment with different tastes and textures,” stated Dodge.