Sunday, February 25, 2018
Education

Students create their own recipes for school cookoff contest

The chefs at Blake High School weren't typical cooks. One wore red Converse sneakers. Another had to stand on a milk crate to reach the counter.

The five student chefs were finalists in the Hillsborough school nutrition services Cook It Up cookoff. They all whipped up an original recipe Thursday night for a panel of judges that included local culinary professionals and Wharton High School culinary students.

Madison Gentry, 12, a seventh-grader at Barrington Middle School, took home the top prize: two tickets to the Justin Bieber concert in Orlando on Friday. She created a dish called All Around the World with ingredients that included teriyaki chicken, Spanish rice, okra and mozzarella cheese.

"I thought I should go beyond the expectations and put more food groups in it than they wanted," she said.

She was inspired by the Justin Bieber song All Around the World. She entered for the chance to see her favorite singer in concert, she said, but she also takes a culinary class at school.

"I like to see how the kitchens are so different between the middle schools and the high schools," she said. "I didn't know how to cut things certain ways, but now I do."

The other finalists were Nalonna Graybeal, 11, Mintz Elementary; Amber Buchanan, 13, Rampello Downtown Partnership School; Arianna White, 14, Memorial Middle School; and Kayla Sieper, 11, Bryant Elementary. They submitted original recipes with an essay explaining why their entry was nutritious. They were selected from about 100 entries districtwide.

For the contest's second year, Mary Kate Harrison, general manager of student nutrition, wanted to make it an event. Last year, students were judged only on their submitted recipe and essay. This year, the finalists cooked their meals with the help of a sous chef from their school in the Blake High kitchen. Cameras broadcast them on a big screen to their friends and family in the cafeteria, creating a mini cooking show.

"We want to show them they can have meals that are flavorful and affordable," Harrison said.

The finalists' meals will be featured in their schools. Gentry's will be featured districtwide. She will also appear at Radio Disney's studio on the Kid's Concern Show, and her school will receive a lunch party hosted by Radio Disney.

The judges included Mike Beadles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers executive chef; Brian Ford, the Bucs' vice president of business administration; Jason Dame, chef at Datz in Tampa; Isabel Laessig, founder of the Family Foodie blog; and Michele Northrup, founder of Intensity Academy Gourmet Sauces.

Beadles said he was looking for creativity and diversity in the entries, and "what I think my kids would eat and enjoy," he said.

"I just love to see the creations young minds are going to come up with," Northrup said. "Many students feel they're told what they can do." But teaching them how to cook gives them a sense of independence, she said.

That's what Sieper liked about the contest. She was nervous because it was her first time cooking, but liked putting her healthy spin on meatball soup.

It was Graybeal's first time cooking, too. She liked learning how to work as a team with her sous chef. "It went great," she said. "We actually got done in the time we needed to."

Buchanan and White used spinach in their recipes. "At first I didn't really like spinach, but then I decided to try it," Buchanan said.

Cooking is White's favorite hobby. She likes to cook for her family, and is excited to try new recipes such as sushi. "It's fun, it's active," she said. "When they eat it, people's faces light up."

Keeley Sheehan may be reached at [email protected]

   
Comments
Special Olympians shine at county summer games

Special Olympians shine at county summer games

NEW PORT RICHEY — It was one of those perfect days, when sunscreen and shade are in high demand, smiles are aplenty and the camaraderie on the field trumps the thrill of victory.About 600 Special Olympians and unified athletes from west Pasco schools...
Published: 02/23/18
Pasco foundation battling childhood hunger one school at a time

Pasco foundation battling childhood hunger one school at a time

ZEPHRYHILLS — On a Thursday morning in a small warehouse off Gall Boulevard, a well-oiled machine of goodwill is cranking. At the Thomas Promise Foundation, volunteers Carlos and Robin Clothier, pack boxes of macaroni and cheese, granola bars, apple ...
Published: 02/23/18
After Parkland, another plea for rumor control: ‘This is not a joke’ (w/video)

After Parkland, another plea for rumor control: ‘This is not a joke’ (w/video)

ST. PETERSBURG — The mayor and the police chief came to Northeast High on Thursday to warn students about the dangers of circulating rumors of school safety threats on social media.While they were there, one of those unfounded rumors popped up on Fac...
Published: 02/22/18
Collards, ribs and Kool-Aid: Black History Month menu at NYU stirs controversy

Collards, ribs and Kool-Aid: Black History Month menu at NYU stirs controversy

NEW YORK — On Tuesday, a dining hall at New York University advertised a special meal in honor of Black History Month. On the menu? Barbecue ribs, cornbread, collard greens, and two beverages with racist connotations: Kool-Aid and watermelon-flavored...
Published: 02/22/18
Arming teachers? Some officials like the idea, but many educators don’t (w/video)

Arming teachers? Some officials like the idea, but many educators don’t (w/video)

With high school students from Parkland in the Capitol this week advocating for gun control, the bill that would have allowed superintendents and principals to designate trained employees who can carry concealed weapons at school didn’t get heard as ...
Published: 02/22/18
How will Douglas High students go back to class? There’s now a plan in place.

How will Douglas High students go back to class? There’s now a plan in place.

When students return to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High for the first time next Tuesday, they will be greeted by additional counselors and law enforcement."There will be a plethora of counselors and services at the school," Broward Schools Superintende...
Published: 02/21/18
School shooter may get inheritance — and be ordered to spend it on legal bills

School shooter may get inheritance — and be ordered to spend it on legal bills

Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz appears to have been in line for a sizable inheritance. He’ll never get to spend it — except perhaps on defense attorneys.The amount could be enough to compel a judge to order him to hire a private lawyer, rather ...
Published: 02/21/18
Pasco County schools, dealing with threats, warn students of consequences

Pasco County schools, dealing with threats, warn students of consequences

DADE CITY — A Pasco High School student was taken into custody Tuesday amid accusations of threatening violence against the school. The campus was not at risk, school district officials said. But they made clear they take each threat seriously, and t...
Published: 02/21/18
‘Blind Side’ star delivers message to Newsome High kids

‘Blind Side’ star delivers message to Newsome High kids

LITHIA — Students, faculty and staff recently scurried inside the Newsome High School gym for a morning assembly to hear a message about bullying from a man who kids once taunted.Newsome’s principal Carla Bruning invited actor Quinton Aaron, star of ...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Spoto High helps students un-bottle emotions with Challenge Day

Spoto High helps students un-bottle emotions with Challenge Day

RIVERVIEW — Spoto High School English Department Head Adam Sherman can’t help but wonder if a program he introduced to Spartan students could have changed the trajectory of Nickolas Cruz’s life before he gunned down and killed 17 people on Valentine’...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/23/18