Emerging first after final competition for school gastronomy held at the GastroNord expo in Stockholm, the Rosebuds (i.e., Rosenknopparna) from Skövde, Sweden, were declared the best team for cooking school lunches because they concocted the tastiest dishes on a shoestring budget.

Consisting of Carina Andersson, Susanne Dahl and leader Martin Karlsson, the Rosebuds team was handed the honors by Sweden's Minister of Education, Jan Björklund, who underscored the importance of good school food to the performance of students and their formation of good eating habits.

Their event winning lunch menus entailed a soup, a vegetarian dish and a main course that would serve at least 100 students at a cost of no more than $1.40 (SEK 10) per person. Salad, dressing, margarine, bread and a beverage were required in the packages, which also needed to be both appetizing and nutritious.

As a comparison, the federally funded National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in the U.S. provides support to over 100,000 schools. The cash reimbursement for free lunches is $2.68.

Earning the title of "Best School Cooks," the Rosebuds prepared a potato soup with herb oil that was served with bacon bread, a ground beef patty on root vegetable salad served with hot sauce, pickled cucumber and lingonberries and, for their third selection, a vegetarian lasagna with sweet corn salad and feta cheese cream on a bed of arugula (a leafy salad with elongated leaves).

Recipes of all finalists in the contest, which was sponsored by the Swedish farmers association (Lantmännen), have been collected in a cook book that is being distributed to 15,700 of the nation's schools. In addition, the winning cuisine was served at a press conference at Restaurang Kungsholmen in Stockholm last Wednesday and also offered individually to luncheon guests at the famous establishment during the following week. The meals cost SEK 25 apiece and were presented in actual school style - with cafeteria trays and self-service.

Minister Björklund claimed that he often eats school meals in cafeterias around the country. "I think school meals in Sweden are good, but they can always be better," remarked Björklund. One recent improvement to which he referred is that Sweden's school meals are monitored by inspectors and regulated in order to deliver necessary nutritional value.
Read more about the activity (Swedish only!) at http://www.lantmannen.se/skolmatsgastro