Two middle school culinary students made a taco last week that tens of thousands of their fellow AISD students will be eating next year.
Janett Macias-Lopez and Cierra Salazar of Bedichek Middle School students were part of a Diced & Sliced cooking competition, a collaboration between the district’s Nutrition and Food Services and Career and Technology Education departments. At Austin Community College’s Eastview campus on Friday, six teams from local middle schools, including the Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy, competed for a really cool prize: Your taco on the menu at AISD schools next year.
As a judge, I got to try all of the competing tacos alongside fellow judges AISD Career and Technology Education Director Tammy Caesar, KXAN Anchor/Reporter Erin Cargile, Superintendent Paul Cruz, Chef de Cusine at L’Oca D’Oro Matt Lester and “Tacos of Texas” co-author Jarod Neece.
Bailey Middle School’s team made a breakfast taco, Gus Garcia’s team created a bacon and ranch taco (a ‘la Jack in the Box, they said during their presentation) and Lamar Middle School made a Brazilian-inspired steak taco.
These were good tacos, but they didn’t make the top three. Dobie Middle School students created a pork carnitas taco with cabbage slaw and an excellent salsa verde that earned second place at the competition, and Kealing Middle School’s team took third place with its chicken fajita taco, featuring a walnut guacamole.
But it was the “Loaded Taco,” made with chorizo and ground beef browned with carrots and potatoes and then topped with fresh cilantro, avocado and a little sour cream, that won over the judges. Macias-Lopez and Cierra Salazar might have had the smallest team, but if the chatter on the judging panel is any indication, their taco will be a huge hit with students next year.