Broward schoolchildren taste test potential new lunch options

POMPANO BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Call them pint-sized food critics.

Some intrepid Broward County Public Schools students put potential new additions to their lunch menu to the ultimate test: their picky palates.

Student Francisco Rivera was clear and concise of his assessment of the cheesy flatbreads. “It had cheese, and it tastes like pizza,” he said.

Tasters also went for the steamed edamame succotash. “It’s good,” said Esteban Figueroa as he emptied the contents of his small plastic cup.

He appreciated the simplicity of this veggie dish’s recipe. “Kind of a touch steamed,” he noted.

It was an observation that impressed one of the servers. “I’m quite surprised that they know the method of cooking, which is steamed. Very shocking,” she said.

Rivera, Figueroa and the rest of their fellow Riverland Elementary School classmates took on several possible new menu items, then voted on them.

“Our students are our first customers, and so we want to know what they like,” said Darlene Moppert, Broward County Public Schools’ program manager for nutrition education and training.

But don’t take the students’ word for the quality of these entrees. Ask celebrity chef Rudy Poindexter.

“Listen, the school lunches have totally changed,” he said.

Poindexter actually created some of the new menu items. “One of them is a butternut squash with fresh sage and garlic, cinnamon,” he said.

Poindexter also created a fresh take on chicken Alfredo. His secret weapon: Cajun seasonings.

When asked why she liked the pasta dish so much, a student replied, “It’s spicy.”

7News reporter Vanessa Medina needed to judge for herself. “It is delicious. You were right on the money, sweetheart,” she said as she high-fived the budding food connoisseur.

From roasted pork tacos, to chicken and turkey sausage pockets, to chicken and dumplings, these foodies are deciding with their votes what will make it on to next year’s menu.

“It’s really awesome that we’ve involved the kids in this,” said Poindexter, “and you’ve got to think, they’re going to eat it every day.”

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