ShareThis Page
Cooking challenge puts budding Eden Hall chefs to the test | TribLIVE.com
North Hills

Cooking challenge puts budding Eden Hall chefs to the test

815890_web1_pcj-littlechefs3-030719
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Eden Hall Upper Elementary student Tessa Lutz prepares her Apple Taco Tastic dish on Wednesday, Feb. 27. The judges voted her the 2019 winner of the 2019 Sodexo Future Chefs Challenge.
815890_web1_pcj-littlechefs2-030719
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Eden Hall Upper Elementary student Josh Oklejewski competes on Wednesday, Feb. 27, in the 2019 Sodexo Future Chefs Challenge.
815890_web1_pcj-littlechefs-030719
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Eden Hall student Charlotte Liae competes onWednesday, Feb. 27 in the 2019 Sodexo Future Chefs Challenge.
815890_web1_pcj-littlechefs4-030719
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Eden Hall Upper Elementary students Brooke Deegan, front left, Tessa Lutz, Kenneth Hoy, back left, Josh Oklejewski, Charlotte Liae and Ryan Katzfey all took part in the 2019 Sodexo Future Chefs Challenge.

The cafeteria kitchen at Eden Hall Upper Elementary School could have passed for the set of Master Chef Junior on Feb. 27 as six of the school’s budding young culinary wizards put their recipes to the test.

The fourth and fifth graders were chosen as finalists in the 2019 Sodexo Future Chefs Challenge and for this year’s competition had to present healthy, Mexican-inspired dishes for the panel of judges. Each young chef was partnered with his or her very own sous chef, chosen from amongst district cafeteria staff, as they chopped, stirred, seasoned and cooked their creations.

Fourth grader Tessa Lutz made a dish called Apple Taco Tastic that was voted the winner based on the criteria of originality, taste, ease of presentation, kid friendliness and use of healthy ingredients.

“It’s an apple taco with apple salsa and guacamole,” she said. “I looked it up because I really like guacamole so I was looking up good guacamole dishes and this came up so I decided to do it.”

Fifth grader Ryan Katzfey’s creation was Fried Jack, a combination of homemade tortillas, refried beans and eggs that he said he first learned about during a trip to Belize.

Fourth grader Kenneth Hoy prepared black bean and sweet potato quesadillas, while fifth grader Charlotte Liao prepared enchiladas.

Brooke Deegan, a fifth grader, chopped green peppers as she described her cheesy chilaquiles dish.

“It’s my mom’s recipe, she made it up,” said Deegan, who cooks the family dinner once a week during the summer. “I’ve been having it for a long time so when they said Mexico was the theme I thought this would be perfect. I cut up some peppers and onions and then I fry them until they’re soft, then I add some enchilada sauce and tomato paste then I add my pork and fold the chips in and I’ll add some decorative toppings and sour cream on the top.”

Fifth grader Josh Oklejewski made a dish called Senorita Bonita, a mahi mahi taco with street corn and churro. He and his mother are the only ones in his family who like Mexican food, he said, and when they lived in Ohio they had a favorite restaurant where they’d go together.

“I named it Senorita Bonita to remind me of that special time with my mom,” he said.

Sodexo, which is the food service contractor for the Pine-Richland School District, sponsors the annual competition as part of its work with the Partnership for a Healthier America. Diane Bucknum, general manager of the Sodexo Food Service Department at Pine-Richland, said it’s a way to get kids excited about not only cooking, but also cooking healthy food.

“This is the eighth year for this promotion and every year the kids are so excited,” Bucknum said. “It’s the kids who really like food and want to be in the kitchen. I talked to a few parents and they were prepping at home and practicing, and it is hard for them because it’s different from cooking it at home. Now you’re in a big kitchen and we’ve doubled the recipes so it’s difficult. It’s a real chef challenge for them so it shows a lot of determination and courage for them to come and do it.”

Categories: Local | North Hills
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.