On a gloomy Tuesday afternoon, elementary students from San José Unified fired up the kitchen at Gunderson High School for the annual Future Chefs live cooking competition, and the results were nothing short of delicious.
Future Chefs is a national initiative from our nutrition partners at Sodexo. Now in its eighth year, it’s designed to inspire kids to make healthy eating choices and develop their cooking skills. The theme for this year’s competition is Healthy Asian Fusion.
Hundreds of our students submitted recipes, and nine were selected to participate in the live districtwide finals on March 20th. Working with seasoned professionals from our student nutrition staff, finalists had one hour to prepare their creations, which were rated for their creativity, taste, ease of preparation, use of healthy ingredients, kid friendliness, and presentation.
A panel of celebrity judges, including administrators and principals from San José Unified, had the lucky distinction of sampling all of the dishes, and after a quick tally, here are the results:
- 1st Place – Kate Routon, 4th Grade, Willow Glen, Asian Chicken Wonton Tacos
- 2nd Place – Aashna Raval, 4th Grade, Simonds, Thaiquito
- 3rd Place – Chyaniss Pate, 5th Grade, Olinder, Pork Fried “Rice”
- 4th Place – Brianna Cavano, 4th Grade, Los Alamitos, Fantastic Fried Rice
- 4th Place – Cristian Santos, 3rd Grade, Grant, Ginger Noodle Soup
- 4th Place – Ellie Luke, 3rd Grade, Booksin, Korean Short Rib Quesadilla
- 4th Place – Gracie Gsoell, 4th Grade, Almaden, Gracie’s Cashew Chicken
- 4th Place – Isabella Jones, 3rd Grade, Booksin, Thai Rice Noodle Salad
- 4th Place – Natalie Malak, 4th Grade, Los Alamitos, Too Cool Teriyaki Tacos
Congratulations to Kate and all of the finalists for a job well done. Kate will be considered along with the winning students from other participating school districts for a regional finalist award. Selected regional finalists will compete to become the national champion in an online vote, so get your thumbs and clicker fingers ready!
Future Chefs is just one example of how our Student Nutrition team makes eating right fun and engaging for kids. Every day, they serve more than 17,000 healthy meals in our 41 schools, ensuring that students go to class ready to learn. If you’d like to learn more, visit go.sjusd.org/food.