CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) -
Gourmet food may soon be on your child's school lunch menu in and you can help get it there.
The Chesterfield County Public School System wants parents and students to help design the breakfast and lunch menus for its 64 schools.
Thursday night, surrounded by delicious food, that process began in the Clover Hill High School cafeteria.
Hundreds of parents and students sampled 36 different foods - from entrees to side dishes to desserts. After trying the food, participants completed a survey - evaluated every item.
"It seemed like a good opportunity to give a voice to something that my kids participate in every day," says parent Julie Winkel. "My kids say it's better than what they are currently getting at school."
Her son, Parker, agreed.
"So far I've liked about everything," he says.
One of the reasons the food fair be being held to to help introduce more healthy meals to the menu.
"We'd be interested in letting out kids buy lunches but we feel that the nutritional value needs to be a little bit better before we do that," says parent Farrah Graham.
"Not only are we trying to provide good lunches," says Chesterfield Schools Nutritionist Sandy Stokes, "but we're trying to educate the students in making great choices."
Those choices included everything from traditional banana bread to apple-filled churos, maple flavored sweet potatoes, and mushroom burgers.
"We have to do what the kids want," says school chef Anthony Arrington. "We can't force them to eat anything so we have to stay on trend with the latest foods."
Popular dishes from the food fair will start being introduced next school year. Parents and students are looking forward to it.
"There were some things they really liked that I would be okay and feel good about them getting to eat," Graham says.
Another food fair will be held next week at Thomas Dale High School but all the spots have been taken.
School leaders say that the events have been so successful that more fairs will likely be held again.