Before you start planning an Iron Chef competition for your program, make sure such a competition is feasible district-wide so that all schools can compete against one another. If not, you could just make it a school-wide competition, with the permission of your administrators.
When you’ve gotten the “thumbs up” from administration, the next order of business is to pick a theme for the dish. Is there a certain meat entrée you want to switch out on the menu? Or do you have a tired side dish on the breakfast menu? What about a new low-sugar dessert option?
When you’ve picked the theme, you’ll need to spell out the guidelines. Make sure to determine how the contest will be set up; can individuals compete, or do they have to compete in teams? If they work in teams, how many students per team? You should also clearly spell out the nutritional guidelines, amount of time students may spend working on their creation, and how much each dish can cost per plate.
You’ll also need to select some judges for the final competition. It’s a good idea to choose a variety of judges – teachers, school nutrition staff, students and administrators. Let them know that they will be required to score the dishes and offer feedback to the participants.
The final steps in this process are creating hype for the big day – send notes home with children, put advertisements or posters around the school, promote the competition on social media – and holding the competition! When you’ve selected the winning dish, you have to hold true to your word and begin implementing this dish into your menu. The dish can make an appearance on the menu once a month or even more frequently, depending on your program. Be sure to advertise that this menu item is the Iron Chef competition’s winning dish, and give credit to the creator(s).