Elk Grove students create new pizza for eatery

 
Submitted by District 214
Posted1/27/2017 10:34 AM
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  • Elk Grove High School culinary arts students Gigi Juarez, left, and Natalie Gonzalez created a specialty pizza that will be featured on the menu of Frato's Pizza and Catering in Schaumburg.

    Elk Grove High School culinary arts students Gigi Juarez, left, and Natalie Gonzalez created a specialty pizza that will be featured on the menu of Frato's Pizza and Catering in Schaumburg. Courtesy of District 214

Two Elk Grove High School students created a specialty pizza that will soon be featured on the menu of a Schaumburg restaurant.

The "4-Cheese Lasagna Pizza," created by culinary arts students Natalie Gonzalez and Gigi Juarez, will begin selling Monday, Feb. 6, at Frato's Pizza and Catering. It incorporates ingredients such as penne pasta, ground beef, pizza sauce, mozzarella and ricotta cheese.

Last fall, Frato's approached Elk Grove's ProStart teacher Erin Ludewig about hosting a competition that encouraged students to invent a unique specialty pizza. The winning recipe had a chance at being featured on the restaurant's menu.

ProStart is a program offered at three Northwest Suburban High School District 214 schools that combines culinary arts, hospitality and restaurant management courses, and is backed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and state restaurant association partners.

Four teams from the school's ProStart class entered the competition, submitted their recipes to the restaurant and prepared the pizzas, which were judged by experts such as Frato's Chef Ed Musto.

Criteria such as taste, flavor and texture went into the judges' decision, but the winning recipe was heavily determined by whether it belonged on the restaurant's menu, and if it could be replicated and successfully marketed to customers.

Gonzalez and Juarez say winning the competition has pushed them to invent new culinary creations. Both would like to open a restaurant one day.

"The partnership between Elk Grove and Frato's has created fantastic opportunities for our students," said Ludewig. "They have gained exposure to working in a professional kitchen and restaurant, and now have real-world experiences and insight into the process of creating a new menu item."