“Future Chefs” compete at Northgate

Future Chefs from Northgate, pictured from left, are Ryan Geeting, Lyla Savruk, Emma DeSimone, Jadyn Mills , Marissa Walker, Ethyn Firestone. Back row: Chef Joe Elbicki, Nancy Silay, Mike Cope, Sean Conley, 2014 winner Paige Butler and superintendent Dr. Joe Pasquerilla. Local winner Emma DiSimone will go on to compete regionally. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

Students in Avalon and Bellevue elementary schools once again competed in the Future Chef's Challenge by creating recipes for tasty and healthy foods that are easy to make and win parental approval, as well.

The contest began in January when 32 students in grades 6-12 at the two schools answered the invitation to submit their recipes for the contest, which was coordinated by Northgate food director Julianne Griffin. Judges narrowed the field to six finalists, who took to the kitchens at Northgate to prepare their specialties this past Wednesday.

The recipes included "Emma's Sweet and Sassy Dip," created by Emma DeSimone, grade 5, Avalon; "Apple Cookie," created by Ethyn Firestone, grade 5, Bellevue; "Banana Sushi" created by Ryan Geeting, grade 5, Bellevue; "Protein Dip with Apples," created by Jadyn Mills, grade 5, Bellevue; "Crunchy Parfaits," created by Marissa Walker, grade 6, Avalon; and "Strawberry Smoothie," created by Lyla Savruk, grade 3, Avalon.

The panel of judges included Rusty Nail restaurant owner Joe Elbicki, Mike Cope and Sean Conley of Tallulah's Catering in Etna, and Avalon school secretary Nancy Silay.

After a lengthy session of sampling and re-sampling, judges announced a four-way tie for the bronze medals, with Jadyn Mills taking the silver and Emma DeSimone declared this year's gold medalist.

The winning student from each school district will be considered for regional finalist awards and the selected regional winners will vie to become one of five national finalists competing for the public's vote on a special Future Chef's YouTube channel.

Prior to announcing where the chefs had placed, Cope praised all of them, saying, "You really did a spectacular job. It was very difficult for us to select a winner."