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Students compete to take over their cafeterias

June 12,2019

Popular chef and food expert Baek Jong-won is visiting high schools across the country to help students create their own recipes for school lunches and serve them to their schoolmates on cable network tvN’s latest reality show “High School Lunch Cook-off,” which premiered last Saturday.

The show will be a tournament of eight teams which have been selected out of the 234 that applied.

Seven matches will be held to pick the final winning team which will receive a prize of 20 million won ($17,000).

“When I asked the students what school lunches meant to them, a lot of the kids replied, ‘It’s the reason I go to school,’” producer Lim Su-jeong said at a press conference held on Tuesday.

The producer came up with the idea of students cooking school lunches when she saw a report that said that students felt that their quality of life was enhanced when they were satisfied with their school lunches.

Despite its importance, however, many students report that they are dissatisfied with their options in the cafeteria.

“After filming for the show, I truly came to understand the hardships that school nutritionists go through to provide a proper meal to students that fits the three criteria: cost, nutrition and the ability to make large quantities,” said Baek.

“It’s still a problem that many nutritionists struggle with, balancing a delicious meal against the mandatory categories that need to be adhered to. Through the show, we wanted to put our heads together and try to come up with more ideas to resolve the problem.”

The young participants also struggle to fit their recipes under the strict criteria, but they adapted quickly and their creative ideas even impressed the veteran chef.

“Lunch time is a general topic that people of all ages can relate to,” Lim said. “I was curious to find out what kind of recipes the students would create when they took charge of the cafeteria.”

Joining Baek are singer Eun Ji-won, entertainer Moon Se-yoon and Lee Na-eun, a member of the girl group April who serve as hosts and advisers representing the tastes of diverse generations for the show.

Enlisting the help of school nutritionists, the show’s cast will help the students figure out how to fit their recipes within the country’s school dietary standards and cook the food they will serve to their friends and classmates.

BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]






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