Budding 4th and 5th Grade Chefs Test Their Culinary Skills During Sodexo 2015 Challenge
It was a fun-filled morning in the Magee Middle School cafeteria as several Round Lake Area 4th and 5th graders gathered together with parents and supporters for an old fashioned cook-off. Cook off might be the wrong word since I only saw one entry actually go into the oven. Most of the entrees consisted of fruits and other cold ingredients. Details of what the Sodexo 2015 Challenge is all about was reported earlier HERE.
Gwendolyn Williams, who is the General Manager of Round Lake Area Schools Sodexo Services, got things started by having each contestant take their positions at assigned tables where they were outfitted with a classy looking chef’s jacket along with a big chef’s hat. After several minutes for parents and supporters to shoot some photos, the young chefs headed into the kitchen. That’s where they were met by Sodexo wonderful staff who volunteered to come in on their normal day off and give the chefs some hands on training and advice. (Sodexo is the schools lunch provider). With the clock ticking, the youngsters began preparing their entree which they had submitted and which got them into these finals.
The video below is over 80 short clips showing the start to finish of each contestants “masterpiece”. There were a couple of contestants that created smoothies using a mixer and I may have missed those preparations but I did get the end product. The budding chefs who were using sharp knives to prepare their recipe wore a special glove that would prevent any cut fingers. As you can see in the video, the Sodexo staff were there more as advisors and let the young chefs do their preparation. Once the clock ran down to zero all contestants placed their main display entree along with sampling cups on a tray and carried it back out into the cafeteria for the judging portion of the event.
There were three judges that made their final decisions based on numerous things besides just taste. If you’ve ever watched Hell’s Kitchen or Chef Ramsey on TV you know what I am referring to. The judges were Food Service Secretary Janet Contreras, Director of Fiscal Services John Benedetti, and Security Guard Ron Ward. You will see them in the latter clips sampling some of the entrees and scoring the results.
Once the three judges scores were combined and after the other contestants were congratulated and handed a certificate and a basket filled with some goodies, the top three winners were announced by Gwendolyn Williams. Because parents were gathering to take photos of their children after each announcement, I stopped video taping until Gwendolyn got down to the final three. The First Place winner was Manuel Amador from Indian Hill Elementary School who won with his smoothie recipe and will have a brand new shiny bike to ride this summer.
Future Chef Contestants
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