Community shares input at 30th Annual PWCS Food Show
Posted on 11/20/2019
A family is being served delicious fare at the 2019 PWCS Food Show

It’s usually a good idea to avoid grocery shopping on an empty stomach, but the opposite applies if you’re attending the Prince William County Public Schools annual food show. Celebrating its 30th year, the PWCS School Food and Nutrition Services event drew hundreds of taste-testers to Colgan High School for a chance to sample some of next year’s new recipes.

Upon arrival, guests were guided to tables where baskets of warm made-from-scratch dinner rolls awaited them. Servers introduced themselves, distributed menus, and answered questions regarding their four-course meal. Meanwhile, a large tray with the evening’s first course arrived. The selections included Russet potato wedges baked in garlic, Italian seasoning and olive oil (Crispy Breakfast Potatoes), and a warm flour tortilla filled with vegetarian chorizo, a crispy hash brown, scrambled eggs, and cheddar cheese (Vegetarian Breakfast Burrito).

A server holds a tray of food for delivery to a table at the PWCS Food ShowThe second course began with a Caesar Salad with tossed romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing topped with parmesan cheese and made-from-scratch croutons. The next two items included Alfredo Del Mare, a dish of fish noodles tossed with steamed broccoli and creamy alfredo sauce, and a second option of made-from-scratch cheese pizza known as Grandma Pie.

The kitchen staff supplied each dish with seamless efficiency, allowing waiters to provide the next course without a gap in service. This restaurant-style approach allowed diners to enjoy the experience at their own pace, no matter what time they arrived.

“We really have a focus on care throughout our Division and we put that into service here as well. We make sure our scholars know we care about them by the type of food that we serve, the way that we serve them, and the way we present ourselves. We’ve really moved more toward scratch cookery in our kitchens. That allows us to make sure our students are getting the most wholesome, family-style, made-from-scratch dishes, like they would get at home to give them a better opportunity to learn,” said Adam Russo, director of School Food and Nutrition Services.

A family of food critics enjoy one of the four course meals during the PWCS Food ShowOne of the more interesting visual presentations headlined the third course. A whole grain dumpling filled with chicken, cabbage, carrots, and scallions known as “Potstickers” were destined to become one of the evening favorites. Rounding out the course was an original vegetarian Stir Fried Cabbage recipe, as well as Kickin’ Pasta, a pasta dish made from lentils tossed with peppers, onions, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, and balsamic vinaigrette.

Then for desert lovers, the final course was a delicious Blueberry Shortcake baked with fresh blueberries and topped with a dollop of whipped cream. This dish joined the Potstickers and Caesar Salad recipe as the evening favorites. All who participated in sampling the four-course meal had the opportunity to vote electronically for their favorite from each course. Guests could choose whether they liked, disliked, or did not try the recipe. Their survey responses could be recorded on their phone via QR code printed on the back of menus, or afterward at a computer station set up nearby.

The smiling faces and laughter before, during, and after the event, was a pretty good indicator of why the PWCS Food Show has been going strong for 30 years. From great kitchen-to-table service, to first-rate quality cuisine, parents and students have a lot to look forward to whenever their school lunch bell rings.

Attendees register their votes for top recipes during the PWCS Food Show