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Elementary Chefs Participate in Future Chef Competition at CHS

Seven students in fourth and fifth grades got an opportunity to showcase their culinary skills in the first annual Centralia School District Future Chef competition. The event was hosted and presented by Sodexo, the district’s food service partner. Dishes prepared by the students ranged from an excellent chicken pot pie to desserts like black bean brownies and peanut butter cookies. Each student was responsible for planning and preparing their entry dish.

Food Services Director, Mike Young, organized the event. “This is a great opportunity for the kids to show their cooking talents,” Young said. “It’s important to us to get the kids involved in the kitchens and this gives them a chance to kind of work with the food service staff in ways they don’t normally get to during the school day.”

Danielle Vekich (Principal of Washington Elementary), Heidi Jenkins (Principal of Oakview Elementary), and Karen Curtis (Executive Director of Fiscal Services) served as judges for the cook off. Curtis was impressed by the experience “this is a good exposure for these kids to learn how to prepare food that is nutritious,” she said. “

Superintendent Mark Davalos attended and sampled each dish as well. “I think cooking is one of the best life skills we can teach our kids,” he said. “Not only how you prepare food, but the ingredients that go into it are important things to think about. We want kids to think about what they put in their bodies.”

Students participating in the Future Chef competition were: Zaden Waggoner (Cheddar Bay Biscuits), David Mansell (Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese), Lily Hubbard (Banana Muffins), Lily Harris (Peanut Butter Cookies), Ellen Buzzard (Chicken Pot Pie), Emrie Butterfield (Black Bean Brownies), and Natalie Mielitz (Taco Cups). Buzzard and Butterfield were the second and first runners up respectively. Mielitz placed at the top and took home an extensive list of prizes including culinary tools and even a remote-controlled quadcopter, provided by Sodexo.