SAN DIEGO — Bell Middle School students put their taste buds to the test. The cafeteria was buzzing with activity Thursday afternoon as more than 150 students became food critics for a day.

San Diego Unified School District’s Food and Nutrition Services Department launched “Taste of San Diego Unified: Student Voices Shape School Menus,” a new culinary tasting event.

The culinary adventure celebrates student voices by giving them an opportunity to play an active role in picking what they want to eat at their school cafes. Feedback from the students will inform the menu development process for the next school year.

“Whose voice is more important than them?” said Alicia Pitrone Hauser, director of Food and Nutrition at San Diego Unified School District. “So it was very important to me to make sure that we solicited their opinion as we continually work to develop menu items.”

Six different vendors provided students like with a variety of food samples, including plant-based nachos and chow mein noodles and more.

Students reacted to new flavors and gave feedback about what they liked and didn’t like in their flavor passport.

The students were happy to get new flavors in the mix.

“I haven’t been to a school that does that,” said 7th grader Lauren Cease.

But for seventh grader Heaven Williams, this event was more than just about the food.

“The best part is probably getting to share our opinion on the food,” said Heaven.

The school will tally results in the next few weeks with many changes expected in the spring.