Anchantee Lewis of Young & Woods Elementary School prepares her Mango Tango Sandwich. District News Report – April-May 2014 Issue
With delicious entries ranging from a Tempting Tasty Tortilla to The Awesomeness Sandwich and a Taste of Summer, how would the judges choose a winner?
At the end of the Annual Future Chefs Challenge hosted by Sodexo, it was the Watermelon Mango Tango Sandwich made by fifth-grader Anchantee Lewis of Sgt. Cornel Young & Charlotte Woods Elementary School that was crowned the champion.
Providence elementary school students learned about nutrition while honing their culinary skills with health and wellness partner Sodexo and its Future Chefs Healthy Sandwich Challenge held on March 1 at the PCTA cafeteria. The national program, in its fourth year and part of Sodexo’s commitment to bolstering healthy communities, was designed to help students make healthy food choices while encouraging them to be active and creative in the kitchen.
Parents and family members crowded the PCTA restaurant waiting for the judging to begin as students stood behind their beautifully-presented sandwiches and samples for judging. Mayor Angel Taveras stopped by to congratulate the participants and was happy to pose for photos with students and their families. He commended the young chefs for their efforts as well as Sodexo for sponsoring the competition.
“You are getting a chance to learn something special,” Mayor Taveras told the students. “You have done a fantastic job, and I am very, very proud of you.”
Participation in the Future Chefs Challenge nearly quadrupled this year as 163 students from Providence elementary schools submitted recipes, up from 43 last year. Students earned bonus points for using chicken, turkey, whole wheat tortillas, black beans, dry spices, low-fat mayonnaise, low-fat cheese or tuna. The 18 best were selected to participate in the districtwide finals event.
Finalists prepared and presented their creations before being judged on criteria including originality, taste, presentation, kid friendliness, ease of preparation and the use of healthy ingredients. This year’s judges were Dottie Smith, executive director of the Acceleration Zone for Providence Schools, Eva Hulse-Avila of the Providence School Board, Maureen Pothier of Johnson & Wales University, Stacy Couto, vice president of Children’s Friend and Betty Bernal, family engagement coordinator at Rhode Island College.
Anchantee won a WiiU, WiiU Fit and Fit Bit. “I was so happy,” Achantee said when the winners were announced. “I started cooking when I was six; my mom helps me at dinnertime. Cooking helps you learn how to do other things.”
Second place went to another fifth-grader, Sarai Majia from the Leviton Dual Language Elementary School, for her Yummy Liscious Sandwich. She won a new bicycle and helmet.
“This is a great idea,” said Bernal of RIC. “This is the best way to teach kids about foods by having them make it themselves. They were very knowledgeable and I am impressed with their awareness of healthy ingredients.”
Providence students joined more than 1,880 other students at 1,077 Sodexo-served school sites in 30 states nationally in this fun and educational challenge.
Last year, Providence student Shayla Harrison, also of Young & Woods, was one of five national finalists.
“This was a great event,” said Hulse-Avila. “They are learning to eat healthy and start from a young age. They have put their all into this with their own original recipes. Maybe one of these kids will be the next Julia Child.”