Kids cook up creativity in Future Chefs contest

04/01/2014 10:44 AM

04/01/2014 10:44 AM

Who says a sandwich needs to have bread?

Not Bear Creek Intermediate fifth-grader Arissa Rainey who won “Judges Choice” at the fourth annual Future Chefs contest March 25 at Timber Creek High School.

Her “Apple Sandwich” featured a pair of thin round apple slices slathered with peanut butter, oats, cinnamon and raisins.

Keller district fifth- and sixth-grade students displayed their culinary creativity with healthy sandwich options in a competition sponsored by Sodexo, the district’s food service provider.

From 42 entries, local Sodexo employees chose the top 18 recipes to compete in the finals. Students representing all five KISD intermediate schools plus Timberview Middle School took part in the event.

Arissa’s favorite part of cooking is adding her own flair to recipes.

“I like that you get to add something to it even if it doesn’t call for it,” she said.

Cooking is a big part of Arissa’s life, said her dad Roy Rainey of Keller.

“She cooks every day,” Roy Rainey said. “I can’t go into the kitchen without seeing her cooking a meal.”

Kimberly Wang, a fifth-grader from Trinity Meadows Intermediate School who made “Tuna Sandwich with a Twist,” also likes the creativity of cooking.

“It’s fun to mix different flavors, like an experiment,” Kimberly said. “It’s fun to do as a family and fun to express yourself.”

Parkwood Hill Intermediate fifth-grader Rylan Torres, whose recipe was “White Bean Mozzarella Sandwich,” said he started cooking about three years ago.

“It’s fun. I asked for a chemistry set one year, and cooking is a type of chemistry,” Rylan said. “I started baking cakes and cookies, and I just got hooked on it.”

Chris Maggard, Keller’s child nutrition director, said that he and his staff weren’t sure what to expect when they heard the contest theme this year was sandwiches, “but kids really knocked it out of the park.”

Kids are more likely to eat healthy if they make the dish themselves, Maggard said.

Ted Monk, Sodexo senior vice president and one of the contest judges, said that the sandwich theme was a particularly good choice for a kids’ contest because children often make sandwiches for themselves,

“We have some very creative kids, and it makes it hard to judge,” said Trustee Karina Davis, a first-time judge.

Arissa’s recipe now goes on to the regional level. If it is chosen as a national finalist, Arissa will appear in a YouTube video making her winning dish.

Online voting will determine the ultimate winner. Two years ago, Keller Middle School’s Lorenzo Laohoo won the national contest.

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