Ginger was grated, bacon was fried, and noodles were boiled by Prospect Elementary School students March 20 during a live cooking competition.
Six budding chefs had their culinary skills tested during Sodexo’s Future Chef Competition. The national initiative aims to get kids active in the kitchen while also encouraging them to make healthy food choices.
This year’s theme was Asian fusion. Third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders were tasked with creating an original recipe or finding one online and altering it slightly to make it their own.
Judges included Oberlin City Schools food services manager Cathy Tallman, Oberlin High School teacher Donna Shurr, and police chief Ryan Warfield.
They tasted samples of all six dishes and considered taste, originality, ease of preparation, healthy attributes, kid appeal, and plate presentation.
Using low sodium soy sauce, low sodium teriyaki sauce, brown rice, bok choy, fresh mushrooms, lean chicken, lean pork, rice noodles, tofu, garlic, or ginger earned the chefs up to three bonus points.
Fourth-grader Daniel Cochran wowed the judges with his honey garlic shrimp recipe. Third-grader Lydia Chambers snagged second place with her coconut frushi and fourth-grader Lydia Chambers took third with her honey ginger chicken lettuce wraps.
There was only a difference of one point between each of the three winners.
“I am so proud of all of them,” Tallman said. “They had the courage to try something new and out of their comfort range. All of them were a nervous wreck. The little chefs fought through that and finished their task at hand.”
Each student was given their own adult sous chef from the Lorain County Joint Vocational School to help prepare their recipes in the Langston Middle School kitchen.
Leo Dilloway, a fifth grade student, created his “beanie meanie” recipe for the judges. He said he was especially proud of his sweet and sour sauce.
“I have been cooking for a long time,” he said. “I help my mom cook all the time. We were browsing the Internet looking for a recipe and I decided to innovate it by adding black beans because I love beans.”
Students all were able to keep their own chef uniforms and were given a prize basket including an instant camera, a cast-iron wok, and cooking utensils.
Cochran will be considered to compete in a national future chef contest.
Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-774-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.
Honey Ginger Chicken Lettuce Wraps Lydia Chambers, fourth grade • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken breast • 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper • 1 tsp. olive oil • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar • 3 cloves of garlic, minced • 2 tsp. ginger • 1/2 cup of honey • 3 tbsp. lemon juice • Zest of 1 lemon • 1 tbsp. soy sauce • 2 tsp. corn starch • 1 head of romaine lettuce In a medium saucepan, add olive oil, garlic, and ginger. Saute for two to three minutes over medium heat. Add honey, lemon juice, lemon zest, vinegar, soy sauce, and cornstarch. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low to thicken sauce. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Cook four to five minutes or until no longer pink inside. Add the sauce to the chicken. Serve in a lettuce leaf.
A’Son’s Korean Tacos A’Son Bell, third grade • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes • 4 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce • 2 cloves garlic • 1/2 head small cabbage, chopped • 1 medium carrot, grated • 2 heads iceberg lettuce, shredded • 1 cup carrots, shredded • 1 tbsp. grated ginger • 1 lb ground turkey • 1 tbsp. canola oil • 1 small onion • 8 small flour tortillas In a large bowl, whisk vinegar, red pepper flakes, and two tablespoons of soy sauce. Add cabbage and carrots into mixture and toss. Let sit for 15 minutes. In a second bowl, combine sugar, garlic, ginger, and remaining two tablespoons of soy sauce. Add turkey and mix well. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook covered, stirring occasionally until tender for four to five minutes. Add turkey mixture, increase heat to medium-high, and cook, breaking up turkey with a spoon. Fill tortilla with meat and top with slaw.
Honey Garlic Shrimp Daniel Cochran, fourth grade • 1 bag of peeled, de-veined shrimp • 4 tbsp. olive oil • 3/4 cup honey • 1/4 cup soy sauce • 1/4 cup minced garlic • 3/4 cup spinach • 2 cups cooked rice Heat olive oil in a skillet on low heat. Add rinsed shrimp and sliced yellow squash. Saute for three to five minutes. Add spinach, minced garlic, soy sauce, and honey. Serve over rice.
Coconut Frushi Orla Thomson-Jones, third grade • 1 1/4 cups water • 1 cup uncooked sushi rice or other short-grained rice • 1/4 cup sugar • 1/4 cup light coconut milk • Dash of salt • 1 6 oz. carton of vanilla fat free yogurt • 10 orange wedges • 20 fresh raspberries • Cooking spray Bring water and rice to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce heat, and let simmer for 15 minutes or until water is almost absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Place rice in a large bowl. Add sugar, coconut milk, and salt. Stir gently until well combined. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes. Lightly coat hands with cooking spray. Divide rice mixture into 20 equal portions, shaping each into an oval between palms of hands. Place ovals on baking sheet lined with wax paper. Top 10 ovals with an orange slice, pressing gently to adhere. Top remaining ovals with two raspberries each. Cover and chill frushi until ready to serve. Serve with yogurt for dipping.
Sammy Lee’s BLT Sam Lee, fourth grade • 2 toasted ciabatta rolls • 4 tsp. Japanese yum yum sauce • 4 slices tomato • 6 thick cut slices of bacon • 2 tsp. cilantro • 2 cups red cabbage, shredded • 2 heads iceberg lettuce, shredded • 1 cup carrots, shredded • 1 cup cucumber, diced • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro • 4 tbsp. sesame oil • 4 tbsp. rice wine vinegar In a medium bowl, combine cabbage, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, cilantro, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil. Toss until mixed and set aside. In a small skillet over medium heat, fry bacon until crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Top bottom of roll with yum yum sauce, tomato, and bacon. Top with slaw and a drizzle of yum yum sauce, cover with bun, and slice in half.
The Beanie Meanie Leo Dilloway, fifth grade • 8 oz. box of thin rice noodles • 2 cucumbers, sliced • 2 carrots, grated • 1 cup slice snap peas • Juice of 2 limes • 1 clove of minced garlic • 1 tbsp. sesame oil • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed • 1 tbsp. sugar Soak rice noodles in boiling water for five minutes. Drain. Toss noodles, veggies, and black beans in a large bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisk. Pour over noodles and veggies.