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This Week — Feeding the Future 2020: School Lunch-Inspired Bites and Beverages

The Blue Watermelon Project will be holding a fundraiser later this week.EXPAND
The Blue Watermelon Project will be holding a fundraiser later this week.
Chris Malloy

America loves a makeover. But instead of an over-sprayed hairdo or wood-paneled kitchen, the Valley’s most-adored chefs are taking on the ultimate eighth-grade talent show comedian fodder — school lunches. Feeding the Future 2020 will be held this Saturday at The Farm at South Mountain.

The third annual Feeding the Future is a tasting event and competition involving high students and their mentor chefs reimagining the typical cafeteria tray. During the event, samples will circulate of the reimagined cafeteria food, accompanied by hors d'oeuvres, drinks, and desserts from chefs with the Blue Watermelon Project — an affiliate of Slow Food Phoenix and the event’s host.

Participants of Feeding the Future 2020: School Lunch-Inspired Bites and Beverages will be divided into three teams. Students from Casteel High School will be mentored by James Beard Award-winning Chef Charleen Badman of FnB Restaurant in Scottsdale, while Perry High School students will be mentored by Executive Chef Tamara Stanger of Cotton & Copper in Tempe. Doug Robson of Otro Cafe and Gallo Blanco and Director of Culinary Enterprises Chef Dina Altieri will mentor students from Paradise Valley High School.

To stay within the confines of school lunch, the high school contestants spent a decent amount of time creating meals following the nutritional and budgetary restrictions of the National School Lunch Program. They spent months testing, pricing, retesting, repricing, and now they’re ready to face the panel of judges. Judges are to award one team with a $5,000 scholarship from the Blue Watermelon Project. In addition, $5,000 of scholarships, donated from Noble Bread, will be presented to the second and third place teams.

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In addition to strolling The Farm’s stunning grounds while eating and drinking, Feeding the Future attendees may also vote for their favorite team and elect a team to be considered for a People's Choice Award.

The event’s objective is to help students, attendees, and the public better understand the many challenges schools are up against to provide nutritious, affordable, and you know, tasty, lunches to its students every day.

Feeding the Future 2020: School Lunch-Inspired Bites and Beverages will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 11, at The Farm at South Mountain. Tickets range from $20 to $100.

See the Blue Watermelon Project website for tickets and more information.

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