This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Unlike Thanksgiving feasts, school lunches don’t have the best reputation. So Philadelphia is trying a new tactic: Let the kids shape the menu.
From high schools across the city, 160 students recently gathered for the Student Taste Test Food Show, which the District hopes will be an annual event.
The show featured 22 new foods that could find their way into the regular rotation as soon as next spring.
Some offerings — such as buffalo chicken nuggets and ketchup infused with Sriracha — were twists on the classics. Others pushed into new territory, at least by lunchroom standards. Falafel, hummus, and Asian noodle soup all had their day before these most discerning consumers.
As students cycled through the array, they rated the foods on taste, appearance, and other criteria. The District will collect the responses and weigh the feedback (pun definitely intended) when deciding what it will add to its cafeteria menus.