BILLINGS — Fifteen elementary school students were chosen for the 2023 Sodexo Future Chefs National Challenge at Billings Senior High School. Not only was it an opportunity for kids to learn how to cook, but they said they had a ton of fun making their own dishes.
The competitors may not have had Gordon Ramsey looking over their shoulders, but the pressure was on in the kitchen.
“I was nervous at first, but then after I just started cooking, I kind of wasn’t really nervous anymore,” said Boulder Elementary School fifth grader Annabelle Daniels on Monday.
The fourth and fifth graders had a chance to show off their cooking skills in a cooking competition for kids.
“We have five team leaders with three kids with each one of the leaders, and they’re actually in there right now getting their recipes ready to go for their judging,” said Sodexo food service manager Amber Blackburn.
These kids will be judged on their dishes, and they had to incorporate their favorite fruit or vegetable into a side dish with a recipe of their choosing.
“I made a double stacker parfait so it’s like granola, yogurt, and I have like, fruit,” said Beartooth Elementary School fifth grader Kennadi Savaria.
Savaria loves to cook but that’s not the only reason why she was drawn to the challenge.
“It’s like a chance to meet new people and see what they’re doing. And if it’s like something that their culture likes, that you can learn about that,” Savaria said.
Blackburn said it’s all about giving the kids a chance to explore the kitchen.
“A lot of kids actually love cooking and we wanted to encourage the kids to maybe grow in to be a chef or something later on in the future,” said Blackburn.
Daniels has a lot of experience in the kitchen already. This is an opportunity for her to share one of her favorite dishes, a cucumber avocado Greek yogurt salad.
“It’s just a dish that like, I really like Greek food and it’s just really good in my opinion 'cuz it’s just like very juicy and tasty,” said Daniels said.
One first, second, and third-place winner was chosen but all kids received certificates and recipe books that have their actual recipes in them.