Rambler Newspapers

Serving Irving, Coppell and Grand Prairie

El Fenix restaurant menu to feature Singley Students’ recipes

The menu at El Fenix restaurants will soon feature recipes concocted by student chefs from the Academy of Culinary Arts and Hospitality at Irving ISD’s Singley Academy.

The Mexican food restaurant selected tostada dish recipes created by seniors Juan Altamirano, William Perez, and Erick Rodriguez as the winner of the Kids Fit Menu Invitational. El Fenix will add the item in three variations: shredded brisket, shredded chicken and shredded cheddar cheese to all 22 of its locations by March 1.

“Working with Medical City Children’s Hospital and the Kids Fit Menu Challenge provides an invaluable experience and opportunity for our students to take the knowledge and skills they have learned within the culinary program and apply in a real-world challenge,” said Chef Ann Lowrie, Singley Academy culinary arts instructor. “Through the research and development of this menu item, our students experience the real-challenges of creating menu items that are healthy, appealing to kids, and also feasible within current production of the restaurant. It also allows our students an opportunity to work with a variety of industry professionals and gives them vision for many career options within the culinary industry.”

Last semester, Singley students competed in the inaugural Kids Fit Menu Invitational, a collaboration between Medical City Children’s Hospital and the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association to develop healthy children’s menu options. The competition was a two-day affair.

At an introductory event in October, Singley and three other schools were paired with El Fenix to develop a menu item that was delicious but also nutritionally balanced. Students met with an executive chef from El Fenix who shared the history of the restaurant; the restaurant’s concept, equipment and ingredients available in the kitchen; and what they look for in a kid’s meal. The students were then tasked with creating a meal around that concept, taking into consideration not only nutritional stipulations but also the time it takes to prepare from order to delivery, food costs and other variables.

Then in December, participating students competed in a live cooking demonstration at 3015 in Trinity Groves. Students prepared their meal option to restaurant leadership, and El Fenix representatives selected Singley student’s tostada dish as the winner.

As the winners, the culinary arts and hospitality program also received a $500 check, which was presented to Altamirano, Perez, Rodriguez and Lowrie on Feb. 12.