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TUSD chefs give students a taste of the worlds - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

TUSD chefs give students a taste of the worlds

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School lunch is now more than just corn dogs and pizza. Tucson Unified Schools’ chefs have been busy all summer preparing a line of dishes that combine food with global education.

It’s called “Fusion.”

Fusion hit Tucson schools three years ago, serving as the district’s way of highlighting diversity not just in the classroom but in the cafeteria as well.

TUSD chefs spend the first semester of school conducting taste tests with students. A 70 percent approval rating is required for the various Fusion dishes to become regular options on the lunch menu.

Chef Jennifer Basandrai said once exposed to a certain food, often times, the kids are able to share what they learned with others, making Fusion an effective teaching tool.

Basandrai said, “A lot of these students are very food savvy and they do go out to restaurants with their parents so they know what  we're talking about when we say Baja fish tacos or chicken tikka misala."

The Fusion line began as high school exclusive but now the elementary and middle schools are getting the opportunity to try out the worldly dishes.

Meeting federal guidelines to ensure each recipe is nutritious can be difficult at times, especially when it comes to baked goods. For meals involving vegetables, it’s a bit easier to achieve the federal standards.

Chef Rani Olson said, “Often times, I feel like the way that we choose to eat and the way that we look and view our food system says a lot about how we care for our communities and our planet."

Chef Shyla Larson noted, “Getting these pastries under a hundred calories per serving is pretty challenging but it's a lot of fun."

For more information about Fusion, click here: http://www.tusd1.org/contents/depart/food/fusion.asp

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