NAC Senior Ashley Blanco & Her Team Win the National "Cooking Up Change" Competition in D.C.

June 04, 2012

NAC News Archives

NAC team takes the win on the 'Cooking up Change competition.Some people spend years searching for their passion, trying to find purpose in their actions and take happiness as a reward; others recognize it early on. Whether or not the realization comes quickly or takes years to reveal itself, its arrival lends reason to celebrate. For Nicholas Academic Centers senior Ashley Blanco, the celebration has already begun. After taking a culinary class at Valley High School during her sophomore year, Ashley realized she likes working with her hands, especially in the kitchen. She finds delight in learning new recipes and then switching things up to make them her own. What’s more, she’s good at it.
Recently, Ashley and her classmates/teammates, Alex Hernandez and Ivan Lopez capitalized on their culinary skills and entered the “Cooking Up Change” competition, a national campaign created to advocate for “policies and practices that allow all students, teachers and staff to learn and work in a healthy school environment.” This is the campaign’s first year in California, an expansion made possible by sponsorships from Kid Healthy and Northgate Markets.
The first level of competition took place in March at the state level. For the competition, the team was lead by mentor and celebrity chef, Katy Clark, as well as Valley’s very own culinary instructor, Monica Aguilar. On getting Chef Katy’s help, Ashley states, “She heard about what we were doing, working with limited items to make a nutritional meal that cost less than one dollar in order to be served at school, and she got involved.”

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