Six finalists wield spatulas for future chef title

By Laurie Hamame -

Pint-sized chefs at Prospect Elementary School are using their creativity and culinary skills to whip up healthy recipes for Sodexo’s Future Chefs Challenge.

The national initiative was created to get students thinking about making healthy food choices while also encouraging them to be active in the kitchen. This year’s theme is Asian fusion.

The third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders had to create an original recipe or find one online and alter it slightly to make it their own.

Six recipes were chosen by Oberlin City Schools food services manager Cathy Tallman and Sodexo general manager Bill Burch. Only five finalists were supposed to be selected, but a bonus sixth contestant was added due to the “great number of outstanding entries,” Tallman said.

The finalists and recipes are Leo Dilloway, the Beanie Meanie; Sam Lee, Sammy Lee’s BLT; Orla Thomson- Jones, Coconut Frushi; Daniel Cochran, Honey Garlic Shrimp; A’Son Bell, A’son’s Korean Tacos; Lydia Chambers, Honey Ginger Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

The chefs will compete in a live cooking competition at Langston Middle School at 4:45 p.m. on March 20. They will prepare their dishes from scratch in front of three judges from the community. The winner will move on to a regional competition.

Judges will consider taste, originality, ease of preparation, healthy attributes, kid appeal, and plate presentation.

The use of low sodium soy sauce, low sodium teriyaki sauce, brown rice, bok choy, fresh mushrooms, lean chicken, lean pork, rice noodles, tofu, garlic, or ginger will earn the chefs up to three bonus points at the judging.

“We’re constantly updating and looking at getting foods that have less sugar and less sodium for our menus,” Tallman said. “The kids will learn knowledge in a fun way and now they have to cook for us.”

Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.

By Laurie Hamame