Future chefs get creative

The six local finalists in Northgate’s elementary level Future Chefs contest -- which challenged children to be creative and healthy -- are pictured above from left: Dominique Clark-Enos, Avalon fifth grade (Heart-y turkey wrap); Mia Rajakovic, third grade Avalon (Double Turkey Wrap); Emma DeSimone, Avalon fourth grade, (Emma's Tropical Chicken Dee-lite); Paige Butler, sixth grade Avalon (Mamma Mia); Chris Neal, Avalon fourth grade (Pizza Pocket); and Brendan King, fourth grade Bellevue (The Crunchy King Wrap). In the back row of the photo: Avalon Elementary secretary Nancy Silay, Chef Luigi, Northgate superintendent Dr. Joe Pasquerilla, and Geoff Straub. Judges named Paige the gold medalist and Brendan the silver medalist, with the other four finalists named bronze medalists. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

It's never too early to teach kids the benefits of healthy eating, but it's not too often that the kids show the grown-ups some yummy recipes that are easy to prepare, that kids like and that are (of course) healthy.

For the second year, Northgate elementary school students learned about the importance of healthy eating while honing their culinary skills, thanks to education partner and Quality of Life Services provider Sodexo and its annual Future Chefs Challenge. The national initiative, which is in its fourth year, was created to get students thinking about making healthy food choices while also encouraging them to get active
and creative in the kitchen.

Twenty-six Avalon and Bellevue elementary students submitted healthy sandwich recipes and the six best were selected to participate in the district-wide finals event held last week in the high school cafeteria.

Finalists prepared and presented their creations before being assessed on criteria that included originality, taste and ease of presentation, kid friendliness and use of healthy ingredients.

Northgate School District joined approximately 166 other school districts across the country holding Future Chefs events throughout February and March. The winning student from each participating district will be considered for regional finalist awards, and the selected regional finalists will vie to become one of five national finalists competing for the public's vote on a special Future Chefs YouTube channel.

Julianne Griffin, General Manager-Food Services for the Northgate School District said, "This is an event that I look forward to every year. They all did an amazing job and I feel lucky to get to work with these talented future leaders in the food service industry."

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