The Village Burger Bar kids menu will soon add a new item concocted by a pair of students from Singley Academy.

The duo of Richard Nguyen and Tania Rivera, both juniors, won the Kids Fit Menu Invitational in early November. The competition, sponsored by Medical City Healthcare, tasked teams of culinary students from across DFW to create healthy meals for kids. The restaurant shared a list of their available ingredients and kitchen equipment, and students spent time after school and on the weekends to research and develop meals accordingly.

“These students are not only engaging elementary-school kids and changing their snacking habits, but they also have the opportunity to work with restaurants, get industry experience and provide healthier options at restaurant locations,” says Ryan Eason, community relations director for Medical City Healthcare. “They’re really revolutionizing kids’ menus at restaurants. Through this partnership, kids can be introduced to different types of food in a fun way, and there’s no better way than these high school kids leading that effort.”

For the winning dish, Richard and Tania created a grilled turkey and cheese.

“Our teacher told us that the grilled cheese is the second best-selling item, after the burger,” says Tania, who hopes to one day open a restaurant. “We used swiss because it’s healthier, less calories and just added turkey.”  

“We looked at the ingredients they used, and it was the best option,” added Richard, an aspiring dietitian. “We just had to proportionate it differently because the patties they had were already formed.”

The duo received $800 for participating in the competition and an additional $500 from Village Burger Bar for the winning recipe. Richard and Tania’s names will also be published on the kids’ menu at all five of the restaurant’s DFW-area locations. The menu will be launched in February.

“I was blown away by these concepts,” says Steve Chambers, chief operating officer for Village Burger Bar. “The thing I enjoyed the most about working with these students was that they did their homework. When they first had the opportunity to come up and talk and sell themselves, a lot of them were talking about core values and things about our brand, which I thought was really cool. I appreciate their passion. You can tell they have culinary blood in them.”

Additional photos from the Kids Fit Menu Challenge unveiling can be found here.