Wait, what? New school food a hit with Wake County students

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- "It's the best muffin I've ever eaten," said 6th grader Jenna Ball, as she licked her lips.

A muffin so tasty, the Dillard Drive Middle Schooler went back for seconds.


"When I first heard of it I thought it wouldn't be that good, but it was amazing!" she said.

It's not the phrase you often hear when it comes to cafeteria food. But a new push by Wake County Schools to incorporate more locally grown foods into the district's breakfast and lunch menus had mouths watering during a student taste test Wednesday.


Among the items: pepper jack enchiladas with tomatillo sauce and an Asian noodle bowl with chicken.

But it was a creation whipped up in Dillard Drive Middle School's own kitchen that had students buzzing.

Longtime WCPSS cafeteria manager, Emma Hutchinson, got the idea after Child Nutrition Services challenged staff to come up with scratch-made recipes.

Longtime WCPSS cafeteria manager Emma Hutchinson shows off her muffins.

"It had to be something that was healthy for the children, so what's better than a sweet potato right?" said Hutchinson.

Add in something sweet, and Emma's Chocolate Chip Sweet Potato Muffins were born.

"It's great right?" laughed Hutchinson. "I can look back on it one day, and I can read the cookbook, and it's got Emma's muffins on it!"


WCPSS serves more than 60,000 lunches per day.

Starting Thursday, Emma's muffins will be served as part of a pilot test.

"We've gone from scratch to convenience to trendy, and we're starting to see a reversal now," said Paula De Lucca, Senior Dir. of Child Nutrition Services. "This is a wonderful way for someone to get their Vitamin A, which is really the most powerful nutrient that you get from a sweet potato, and not actually eat the vegetable on its own."

Dillard Drive students gave the muffins a 5-star rating Wednesday afternoon.

"I think a lot of people will like it," said 6th grader Riley Sutter.

Hutchinson hopes so too.

"I'm always happy to see the children enjoy what they eat, so this is even better. I get to create something and hopefully watch them like it," she said.

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