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Buffalo invites local chefs to compete in ‘Chef Challenge’ for school lunches

The Buffalo Public Schools are looking for a few good chefs.

The district is seeking local chefs to participate in the “Buffalo Farm-to-School Chef Challenge” as a way to develop recipes for school lunches that meet federal standards and incorporate local, seasonal food.

Participating chefs will compete against one another and a team of Buffalo students Oct. 4 at Southside Elementary in South Buffalo to kick off the 2016-17 Farm-to-School Program.

Winning recipes will be highlighted on the December lunch calendar in participating Buffalo schools.

Interested chefs can learn more and download an application by going to

The deadline is Aug. 25.

The Farm-to-School program is a pilot that began last year at 12 Buffalo schools to introduce locally grown, seasonal produce to school lunch menus and encourage healthy eating habits.

The program has provided students the opportunity to have a voice in their school nutrition program, said Bridget O’Brien Wood, food service director for Buffalo schools.

“These students are trying locally grown foods and learning about New York State agriculture, and they get to tell us what they think about the new menu items,” she said. “This Chef Challenge is another way to engage our youth in a fun, friendly competition with local area chefs who can help create appealing recipes that will be incorporated into the school meal program.”

The student team participating in the challenge will consist of as many as 10 students in grades 7 to 12, who will be led by Chef Bobby Anderson. Anderson is recognized for his role in Season 4 of the Fox television series, “Hell’s Kitchen,” where he finished 4th out of 17 contestants. He now is the executive director of “F Bites,” an organization that uses culinary instruction to develop leadership, professional skills and college and career readiness.

“By creating menus for their classmates, we hope to further their engagement and their understanding of healthier food choices,” he said.


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