Marysville School District students competed in a cooking competition as part of the Future Chefs challenge on March 21.

“This is our second annual Future Chefs event,” said Latoya Morris, director of the child nutrition department at the school district.

“They submit the recipes and we pick out the kids from all the schools that are participating to come down for the competition,” she said.

Students go to Marysville-Pilchuck High School’s cafeteria and have two hours to make their dish.

The winner of the competition gets to see their food item on school menus for a month.

“We buy all the items they need, give them shirts and set them up with a co-chef to work with our future chefs,” said Morris.

After they’re done cooking their food, they present it to the panel of judges, which is made up of school district officials.

“The hardest part is that everyone can’t win first place,” said Morris.

There were a couple of small changes implemented this year, such as much of the preparation being done in the cafeteria.

“We’re bringing them out of the kitchen so that all the parents can see their kids,” said Morris.

Morris said there were many interesting recipes submitted this year.

“This year we’re doing a fiesta theme,” she said, “and they came up with some really cool items.”

Sunnyside Elementary student Lillie Hedge made baked chicken chimichangas for the competition.

“I just like chicken and it’s healthier baked because it’s not fried,” she said.

She enjoyed the competition. “I just like the cooking involved,” she said.

Liberty Elementary student Cale Bennett made a southwest salad with creamy cilantro dressing.

“We found it in one of our old cookbooks,” he said.

Bennett also said he enjoyed the contest.

“It’s a little challenging but I’m excited for it,” he said. “There’s a lot of kids out here doing a great job with their food.”

Morris said that students enjoy the competition because they get a lot of exposure to what cooking is like as a career.

“They get the experience. It’s a different field when you’re thinking about being a chef,” said Morris.

“Some kids help their moms cook and some kids never go into the kitchen, but this helps kids at least try things,” she said.

The child nutrition department likes to put the event on for the kids.

“For us it’s community involvement,” said Morris. “We get to see the parents and the school board members and other school officials.”

Many of the students also get a lot of support from their peers.

“The principals and schools are cheering them on, making signs for the students,” said Morris.

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