Cynthia Dawso Van Druff, foodservice director for Upper Moreland Middle School in Willow Grove, Pa., is the winner of the USA Rice Federation’s 2008 school foodservice “Healthy Rice Bowls Contest.”

The nationwide contest open to school foodservice directors is designed to promote U.S.-grown rice by encouraging participants to add healthy rice-based dishes to school lunch menus.

Dawso Van Druff’s winning dishes are an Asian Rice Bowl with General Tso’s chicken, rice and vegetables, and a Fiesta Rice bowl featuring seasoned rice topped with spicy taco beef. The Fiesta Rice bowl also features a do-it-yourself station with garnishes such as cheese and salsa to add to the dish.

“Our children are asking for many different choices,” Dawso Van Druff said. “Currently our menu is grab and go…this offers grab-and-go — in a bowl. They love it,” she added.

USA Rice’s “Healthy Rice Bowls” contest is one of the many targeted initiatives designed to increase awareness and usage of U.S.-grown rice in foodservice. Both students and teachers give them high grades for taste, appeal and variety.