Newswise — NEW YORK -- High school students from underserved communities aspiring to become future celebrity chefs will face a challenge from the nationwide 2017 Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) Meatless Monday Recipe Contest. The challenge: create an innovative meatless noodle dish and impress the distinguished panel of judges including:

Cesar Gutierrez - C-CAP Alum, executive sous chef, Café Boulud NYC, a recipient of the 2013 Ment'or Institut Paul Bocuse scholarship, and a 2016-2017 Ment’or Grant Recipient--a two-month stage with established mentors from some of the country’s top restaurants. Matthew Kenney - Recognized as a pioneer in raw, plant-based cuisine, Chef Kenney is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute. He has authored dozens of cookbooks and owns award-winning restaurants and culinary academies in destinations like Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, London, Paris, Bahrain, Belfast, and Miami.

Maria Loi - Global ambassador of Greek gastronomy, elected by the Chef's Club of Greece – executive chef of Loi Estiatorio, author, restaurateur, entrepreneur, member of Les Dames d'Escoffier, and philanthropist. Chef Loi is a popular television chef in Greece, the U.S.A, and the author of more than 36 cookbooks, including Ancient Dining, the official cookbook of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, and her most recent, The Greek Diet.

Kwame Onwuachi - Executive chef of The Shaw Bijou which recently opened in Washington, D.C. and a contestant on Bravo’s Season 13 of Top Chef.

Jet Tila - International culinary storyteller, Royal Thai culinary ambassador, chef/owner of Pakpao Thai in Dallas. Tila has appeared on Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen, Iron Chef America, and The Best Thing I Ever Ate.

The judges will evaluate the recipe submissions based on originality, flavor, healthfulness, ease of preparation, and writing ability.

Meatless Monday, an initiative of the nonprofit The Monday Campaigns, which provides research, recipes, educational and promotional materials to help participants live a healthier, more eco-friendly life, is giving C-CAP students another exciting opportunity to win scholarships. The national grand prize winner will receive a scholarship of $5,000, with regional winners receiving $2,000 scholarships.

"We're thrilled to announce the stellar line-up of chefs on the panel that will judge this year’s recipe contest. We challenge C-CAP students to convert traditional meat noodle dishes into meatless versions,” said Sid Lerner, founder of the Meatless Monday movement.

The fifth annual recipe contest offers the opportunity to both junior and senior high school students a chance to demonstrate their creative culinary talents and create an original meatless noodle recipe. With the Meatless Monday recipe contest, C-CAP is challenging high school students who aspire to be culinary leaders to develop delicious plant-based dishes. The contest will also make the students aware of the health and environmental benefits of offering meatless dishes, one day a week.

"Through this annual contest, culinary students receive guidance from their teachers on recipe writing and development and are able to showcase their talent of creating meatless recipes," remarked C-CAP founder Richard Grausman. "We greatly appreciate that The Monday Campaigns is providing our high school students with scholarship opportunities while promoting healthy eating habits.”

“C-CAP has an incredible system in place that, through education and training, prepares underserved youth for careers in the professional world of culinary and hospitality. The program is also a huge benefit to the growing market and chefs looking for skilled and motivated talent,” said Marcus Samuelsson, chef, restaurateur, author, Marcus Samuelsson Group, and C-CAP board co-chair.

C-CAP is the national leader providing scholarships, education, and career opportunities in the culinary arts to underserved youth. Meatless Monday is a nonprofit public health initiative founded by Sid Lerner, chairman of The Monday Campaigns, with the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. The initiative is in association with the Lerner Centers for Public Health Promotion at Johns Hopkins, Columbia and Syracuse universities.