As a sequel to last year’s event, the organization in charge of a middle school cooking contest wanted to make the competition a little more relevant.
On March 28, 13 middle school students from the Kyrene School District brought their recipes and determination to Aprende Middle School in Chandler as part of the Sodexo Future Chefs: Healthy Breakfast Challenge.
The students were armed with egg beaters, blenders, and cooking pots and pans as they whipped up a homemade creation during the one-in-a-half-hour “Iron Chef”-style competition.
“I look to cooking because I like to experiment,” said Nadia Aldo, Centennial Middle School student who made Nadia’s Trailway, her own version of trailmix. “The competition looks pretty good this year.”
The goal of the event was to get kids more involved with their food, and to learn what goes into their everyday meals.
“This year’s competition, we encouraged them to make a kid-friendly, easy-to-make, nutritious, and healthy breakfast,” said Alan Coker, registered dietitian and food service manager for Sodexo. “We want to focus on student wellness.”
When cook time was over, the 13 students submitted their dishes to be judged by a panel of three. Michael Serna, a sixth-grader at Kyrene Middle School, took home the victory with his Serna’s parfait. Kennedy Lamb, also a sixth-grader at Kyrene Middle School, took second with his Breakfast Biscuit Egg Puffs.
The first place winner received a gift bag that included an iPod, chef’s suit, measuring cups, and a junior cookbook. It also bought Serna a ticket to the regional championship, where he can win additional prizes, and from there, possibly get to a national competition.
“We want to be able to engage students in an eating healthy lifestyle that not only pertains to them, but their families as well,” Coker said. “A competition gets them more hands-on and teaches them what constitutes a healthy recipe.”
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