EL MONTE – El Monte Union’s Nutrition Services Department has been recognized by Tyson Foods for its chicken ramen noodle soup recipe, one of five winning recipes in a national contest to highlight innovative K-12 menu items shared by school district employees across the United States.
The recipe, submitted by El Monte Union Nutrition Coordinator Toni Fu, is a grab-and-go item prepared for the District’s meal distribution. The District will receive 5,000 Tyson Cool School Café points to use for future Tyson food products, and Fu’s recipe has been posted on the Tyson website and social media platforms.
“This is a great honor that reflects the dedication and hard work of my Nutrition Services colleagues at El Monte Union,” Fu said. “As a nutrition coordinator I am in constant contact with food service directors at school districts across southern California. We share ideas and what is working at our schools. If I see something I like, I incorporate it.”
Tyson Foods asked school districts to submit their favorite recipes for any kind of service model, including commodity, grab-n-go, curbside pickup, classroom or afternoon snack. Its lone requirement was to include a Tyson chicken product in the recipe. The submissions were judged for their nutritional content, ease-of-use and flavor.
Fu’s ramen recipe is a variation on a Vietnamese pho that was popular at Arroyo High School prior to school closures in 2020. The pho, made from scratch, proved to be too labor-intensive to prepare for a drive-thru meal distribution.
Fu adapted the recipe to create a ramen that would allow students and families to merely add hot water and serve. Fu’s recipe incorporates readily available ingredients like hard-boiled eggs, corn, carrots and green onion, and can be easily prepared at home.
“Toni is such a valuable asset to our team,” El Monte Union Director of Nutrition Services Suzy Sayre said. “It’s challenging to come up with recipes to introduce to high school students, who have become very sophisticated and discerning when it comes to food. Toni is always searching for something new and delectable. She created a version of Nashville Nuggets with donut holes. The students loved it.”
El Monte Union’s Nutrition Services Department is considering a variety of menu items for the 2021-22 school year including an incorporation of the latest TikTok food craze using folded tortillas. Nutrition Services currently prepares meals for more than 4,000 students a day, with distribution on Tuesdays and Fridays, using a combination of fresh and frozen grab-n-go meals.
“I cannot say enough about the amazing job our Nutrition Services team has done to provide meals for the El Monte community in the last year,” Superintendent Dr. Edward A. Zuniga said. “Suzy and Toni are leaders and role models for the District. Our teams continually go above and beyond to ensure our students are receiving a balanced diet, which is a critical component in providing a nurturing school climate and high-quality education.”
04_14_21_EMUHSD_TYSON_1: El Monte Union Nutrition Coordinator Toni Fu’s ramen recipe is a variation on a Vietnamese pho, which incorporates readily available ingredients like hard-boiled eggs, corn, carrots and green onion, and can be easily prepared at home. It is one of five winning recipes in a national contest by Tyson Foods.