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MDUSD's Food Services chefs pair up with local city officials and restaurateurs in 9th Annual Contra Costa County Mayors’ Healthy Cookoff Challenge


Contact:  Ursula Kroemer Leimbach / communications@mdusd.org / mobile: (760) 705-6919



Mt. Diablo Unified’s Food Services chefs pair up with local city officials and restaurateurs in 9th Annual Contra Costa County Mayors’ Healthy Cookoff Challenge

MDUSD chefs team with civic leaders and chefs from popular local restaurants in “Iron Chef” style competition, using locally-grown foods to create meals that meet school nutrition standards


FoodWHAT:  Public officials from across Contra Costa County will be paired with a top chef from a restaurant in their respective cities and a chef from Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) with each team competing in an “Iron Chef” style competition to create the best meal using locally-grown foods.  Each menu must adhere to USDA school meal standards and include fruit, a whole grain, a protein, and greens or vegetables. 


WHEN:  Thursday, July 27.  Meal preparations start at 4 p.m., with cooking to begin at 4:30 p.m., and judging at 6:30 p.m.  The event is free and open to the public.


WHERE:  Concord Farmers’ Market in Todos Santos Plaza, located at the corner of Salvio and Grant streets. (Get Directions)


PeopleBACKGROUND:  The 9th annual Healthy Cookoff Challenge is organized by the Wellness City Challenge in partnership with the City of Concord and the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association as an opportunity to promote healthy living and healthy communities.


As part of the cookoff challenge, teams will adhere to USDA standards for school meals as well as general healthy eating recommendations outlined in the My Plate, My Wins: Make it Yours guidelines.


“MDUSD is very pleased to be part of this event, and help draw attention to the importance of student nutrition and our school cafeterias as education centers,” said Dr. Nellie Meyer, Superintendent for Mt. Diablo Unified. “I think our community will be impressed when they see how creatively and deliciously our food services professionals are able to serve our students while adhering to USDA guidelines.”


“We are grateful as an organization to partner with MDUSD to develop education programs that not only set examples within Contra Costa County but statewide and nationally,” said Pamela Singh, Executive Director, Wellness City Challenge.  “By capturing science-based data to show these education programs work, we will continue to expand programs with key state and national leaders.”


As part of the event, MDUSD Food Services staff will pick out produce at the Farmers’ Market before the event, and create ‘grab bags’ for the culinary teams to use in the challenge.  The protein this year will be chicken or tofu.  Chefs will also have access to a ‘field pantry’ with oils, spices, and other items that can be used in the competition.  All meals will be served on MDUSD Food Services trays.


PeopleJudges will include Contra Costa County Supervisors, representatives from the Contra Costa County Workforce Development Board, and representatives from Safeway, Inc., headquartered in the East Bay.


Several community groups and service providers will host activity booths and information tables to promote health and wellness, including Contra Costa Public Health's Nutrition and Physical Activity and Safe Routes to School programs. Mt. Diablo Unified will also have a booth to provide information about student nutrition and wellbeing.  Additionally, personnel from the District’s Human Resources team will be on hand to provide information about available positions in food service and other classified positions at schools and departments across the District.



  • City officials, local restaurant chefs, and MDUSD sous chefs
  • Meal preparation, cooking, plating, and presentation
  • Farmers’ market “grab bags” for challenge cooking
  • Judging
  • Award presentation


MDUSD’s on-site contact for media will be Kristin Zellhart, Food & Nutrition Liaison, at (925) 786-5702.  Media may also contact Pamela Singh, Executive Director for Wellness City Challenge at (925) 389-9866 or momshouseinc@ymail.com.

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Mt. Diablo Unified, located in Contra Costa County, is honored to serve approximately 32,000 students at one of more than 50 school sites in the cities of Clayton, Concord, Pleasant Hill; portions of Martinez, Pittsburg and Walnut Creek; and the unincorporated communities of Bay Point, Lafayette, and Pacheco. As part of a richly diverse community, MDUSD families represent numerous ethnic groups, speaking nearly 50 different languages and dialects. We offer innovative programs in Career Technical Education; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); extensive visual and performing arts programs; and rich foreign language and dual immersion offerings. MDUSD is also pleased to have launched its first middle college program, College Now, and is planning to open its first International Baccalaureate program and three new regional magnets in 2017.  Learn more at http://www.mdusd.org/.


Posted by: Joshua Wittman, District Admin, Mt. Diablo Unified School District Published:7/26/17
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