Future Chefs Competition 2018

Culinary Creativity Combined with Healthy Eating: Future Chefs 2018
Posted on 04/24/2018

Mark Willis helps Townsend sliceWhen students walk through the front door and throw down their backpacks after a long day at school, for many the next step is raiding the kitchen for an after-school snack.  But what munchies will they choose: junk food, or healthy fare? 

The Future Chefs competition helps to teach lifelong healthy eating habits by demonstrating “healthy” can also be “creative” and “delicious!”  The competition, in its ninth year in Rio Rancho, is sponsored by Sodexo, the company contracted by RRPS to provide school food services. 

Future Chefs Chavez at workStudents enter the competition by submitting
recipes to elementary school cafeteria managers, listing the ingredients and the step-by-step method for making the snack.  Sodexo managers review the recipes and choose the finalists.   

This year's Future Chefs competition, featuring Asian-inspired cuisine, pitted the ten fifth-grade finalists in a “Chopped!”-style cookoff (but no one gets “chopped!”). The students prepared their snacks in Cleveland High School’s fully-equipped cafeteria kitchen, supervised by Sodexo food services staff members who helped the students observe safe food handling practices and assured the competition was conducted safely. 

Culinary Arts students from Rio Rancho High School judged the competition and awarded prizes in the following categories:

  • Future Chefs Kyli BurnettTaste:
    • 1st: Cole Jackson, Sandia Vista Elementary – “Korean Street Tacos with Slaw”
    • 2nd: Kyli Burgett, Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary – “Thai Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wrap”
  • Easy Preparation: 
    • 1st: Jayden Salazar, Enchanted Hills Elementary – “Sweet and Sour Chicken Dippers”
    • 2nd: Christiano Esquibel, Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary – “Cauliflower Fried Rice”  
  • Healthy Attributes:
    • 1st:  Kalayah Romero, Ernest Stapleton Elementary – “Chicken and Eggplant”
    • 2nd:  Lyllian Franz, Sandia Vista Elementary – “Spicy Asian Noodles with Chicken” 
  • Kid-Friendly Food: 
    • 1st: Addisyn Chavez, Puesta del Sol Elementary – “Vegan Sushi Roll”
    • 2nd: Taylor Townsend, Ernest Stapleton Elementary – “Pad-ci-u”
  • Plate Presentation:
    • 1st: Piper Harmer, Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary -- “Onigiri”
    • 2nd: Lesleigh Teiterlris, Puesta del Sol Elementary -- “Baked Shrimp Egg Rolls”

All finalists received framed plaques, a recipe book with all the finalist’ recipes, a chef coat, apron and hat, and a gift bag.   

Photos in this article courtesy Gary Herron, Rio Rancho Observer