63. Barrington EATS: Students Get Cooking for Future Chefs Challenge

2 mins read
Future Chef, Brian Donlea

There’s something cooking at the Barrington 220 school district. It’s a Future Chefs competition for all children in grades 4-5. The competition is being hosted by Sodexo, our district’s food service provider, with a goal of helping inform kids about healthier eating choices.
Post - Future Chefs National Challenge

With three kids of my own, I have seen, firsthand, how getting kids involved in cooking increases their desire to taste new foods, eat healthier and, of course, learn the life skill of cooking. I helped the 4th graders at Rolsyn Road School cook squash and pepper soup from the children’s garden a few years ago, and some of the kids still tell me how much they now love squash soup.  That is one reason I am excited about this competition.

The other is that my 4th grade son, Brian, shares my passion for food.  Though he usually prefers to leave the cooking duties to me. So I am thrilled that this competition came at a time where he can participate.

Future Chef, Brian Donlea
Future Chef, Brian Donlea

For the competition, children are asked to come up with healthy salad recipes. They are also encouraged to incorporate suggested ingredients, like these which will earn bonus points in the judging:  Black Beans;  Chicken;  Dried Herbs or Spices;  Eggs;  Ground Beef;  Mango;  Pineapple;  Roasted Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes;  Taco Meat;  Tortillas; or Turkey.

The recipes will be judged by a select group of local chefs, wellness professionals and nutrition experts.  I was asked to participate in judging the finalists, if my son is not one of those selected.  And here are some of the qualities judges will be considering with each salad entry:

• Originality

• Ease of Preparation

• Healthy Attributes

• Kid-Friendly

• Plate Presentation

Two finalists will be chosen from each school to compete in a final cookoff at Barrington High School on Saturday, April 20th.

The deadline for entries is Monday, April 8th, and they can be turned in at each child’s home school.

To enter the contest, CLICK HERE for instructions and the recipe entry form.

And, for more information, you can also visit Barrington 220’s Facebook page or the district’s website at Barrington220.org.

As for Brian, well he had a great time creating his unique salad entry. He joined me for a night of grocery shopping where he picked out an exciting array of fruits and vegetables.

Future Chef, Brian Donlea, in the Kitchen
Future Chef, Brian Donlea, in the Kitchen

He had a lot of fun trying different combinations, and unlike me, discovered he has a gift for “plate presentation”.

Future Chef, Brian Donlea's Salad Recipe Presentation
Future Chef, Brian Donlea’s Salad Recipe Presentation

I’ll be sure to post his recipe after the competition. While I’m not sure it’s a winner, I can say that it is a true original. And because he shopped the produce aisle, created something new, and learned a few kitchen techniques from me in the process, in the long run he has already won.



About the Author

Kelly Donlea is a Barrington mom, chef, cookbook author the owner of Organizing Dinner, a company that brings sensible cooking solutions to busy people. She has published several cookbooks and one of her specialties is helping parents plan family meals with fewer trips to the grocery store. Kelly also offers cooking classes and demonstrations in your home or public facility. To learn more about Kelly, her recipes and her services, you’ll find her Facebook page by clicking HERE and her website at OrganizingDinner.com. Kelly is going to be sharing recipes, cooking tips and special features about chefs and popular menu items at area restaurants right here at 365Barrington.com.

Please join us as we discover local culinary treasures and new kitchen classics in our regular Friday food feature here at 365Barrington.com called “Barrington Eats” with Kelly Donlea!

If you’d like to us to feature you favorite chef, restaurant or food store or if you have a food related question that you’d like Kelly to answer, make a quick stop at the 365 Barrington Suggestion Box and leave us a note in the form which you’ll find by clicking HERE or simply leave your comment in the box below.

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