Top Chefs to Collaborate with Students and District for Menu Inspiration

BLOOMINGTON, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Schwan’s Chef Collective is excited to announce it will be hosting its next K-12 Kitchen Collaborative from Dec. 3-6 in Houston, Texas. Since 2016, Schwan’s Company has worked to inspire culinary creativity with K-12 schools through chef-led events. Previous K-12 events were held in Wayzata, Minnesota, in 2016 and Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2017. This year, the culinary team will join the Houston Independent School District (HISD), aiming to inspire new school lunch recipes.


The event will bring together Schwan’s Chef Collective chefs including Food Network celebrity chefs Jet Tila and Todd Erickson and Top Chef contestants Adrienne Wright and Stephanie Cmar. The star-studded team, along with Schwan’s own culinary experts, will be working with 12 HISD chefs and students in schools from across the district to create delicious, healthy and exciting new recipes.

Highlights of the weeklong activities include:

  • Day 1 – Houston Taste Tour to inspire the week of creativity ahead.
  • Day 2 – Classroom Q&A’s between Schwan’s Chef Collective, students and the HISD foodservice team.
  • Day 3 – Recipe creation using ingredients already in the school’s pantry.
  • Day 4 – Mystery Ingredient Cook-Off competition, pitting the four chef teams against each other to create the perfect school meal — and the students will be the judge!

With the goal of sparking dialogue, engagement and understanding among students, parents and chefs about what really goes into creating a school meal, this year’s event will feature even more student involvement. Chefs will engage with students in their culinary and garden classrooms, offering an opportunity for the students to show off their knowledge and for the chefs to share their passion for cooking along with some culinary insights. The event will be capped off with a fun mystery ingredient cook-off competition to be held on Thursday, Dec. 6, with students deciding which team created the perfect school meal.

Good food

“We are excited to bring these Kitchen Collaborative events to school districts across the country,” said Stacey Fowler Meittunen, Schwan’s Company’s senior vice president of product innovation and development. “Our partnership with these renowned chefs brings an elevated level of culinary expertise to address the needs of school foodservice operators while creating excitement among the students about what they eat.”

As the seventh-largest school district in the United States, HISD has a diverse student population, many of whom are economically disadvantaged. HISD serves up to three meals per student per day, totaling 269,000 meals a day. Through the Community Eligibility Provision and new to the 2018-19 school year, the district now offers free breakfast and lunch to all students, with some schools offering free dinner as well.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the Schwan’s Chef Collective to our schools,” said Betti Wiggins, HISD’s officer of Nutrition Services. “Between the collaboration amongst our staff, students and the chefs, the Schwan’s Chef Collective is helping us spread the ‘good food’ message we’re trying to communicate.”

Schwan’s Food Service, Inc. is a leading food provider in K-12 schools and has been committed to helping school foodservice professionals with delicious menu options for more than 40 years.

For more information on the Schwan’s Chef Collective, visit


About Schwan’s Company
Based in Minnesota for 65 years, Schwan’s Company is a privately held business that manufactures and markets quality foods through home-delivery, retail-grocery and food-service channels. Its many popular brands include Red Baron®Tony’s® and Freschetta® pizza, Mrs. Smith’s® and Edwards® desserts, Villa Prima® pizza and Minh® Asian appetizers, and Schwan’s® fine frozen foods. To learn more about Schwan’s, visit

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Beth Munnelly
Revelry Group
(203) 428-4512 x204


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