Photo of a school commons area with people sitting and eating at cafeteria tables

Prince William County Public Schools’ (PWCS) Food and Nutrition Department held its 32nd annual food show at Charles J. Colgan Sr. High School on Thursday, March 7. About 400 people showed up to try new recipes and menu concepts that PWCS is considering for school breakfast and lunch menus. This year’s theme was, “The Future of School Food” with an emphasis on incorporating more sustainable ingredients and foods that support the health of our planet. The event featured several dishes, including an oats ‘n more protein shake, falafel bento box, beef kafta, cauliflower fried rice, and sausage and cheese stuffed waffle.

Colgan High students enrolled in the Introduction to Culinary course helped prep dishes ahead of the food show. They diced fresh basil for avocado pesto zoodles, and prepared ingredients for the falafel bento box by chopping fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions.

Abigail Dixson-Muns, a 12th grade student at Colgan, was thrilled to test her skills in the kitchen.

“I had a really good time prepping the basil. Seeing the mass amounts of ingredients that needed to be prepped was cool. The sanitation--seeing how everything was so clean and to a higher standard from what we’d usually practice in our homes,” she said. “We practice food safety, but it’s a higher level when you’re feeding mass amounts of people.”

Colgan student leaders also helped facilitate the event, greeting guests as they arrived. Twelfth grade Colgan student, Kennedy Corpening, talked about her experience.

“I helped set the tables and learned how to usher and welcome people in. I found myself really appreciating that,” she said. “As someone who’s planning to major in nutritional sciences and dietetics, being here really taught me a lot. I really enjoyed my time here.”

Meghan Leineweber, marketing and communication specialist from the PWCS Food and Nutrition Department, explained how community feedback influenced this year’s menu.

“We believe it is so important to involve students and families in their school food dining experience, and our annual food show provides a space for their voices to be heard. We have heard from students and the community that they would like more vegetarian menu items, so we are excited to feature mostly vegetarian and plant-based menu items at our food show this year,” said Leineweber.

Based on feedback from the event, some of the highest rated dishes at the show include the oats ‘n more protein shake, reduced sugar yogurt, sausage and cheese stuffed waffle, blueberry pomegranate granola bake bar, vegan buffalo bites, and no-nut chocolate butter.

The PWCS Food and Nutrition Department is currently reviewing the survey results and is planning the menu for the next school year.