Future Chef 2017

Something good's cooking in the kitchen
Posted on 03/10/2017
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Friday, March 10, 2017


Fifth-grader’s ‘Spicy Egg Wrap’ earns top

honors in 2016 Future Chef competition


BEAUFORT – Fifth-grader Henry Lovett likes to cook eggs for his family’s breakfasts, and that practice paid off today when he took top honors at the 2017 Sodexo Future Chef competition.


The Beaufort Elementary School student’s “Spicy Egg Wrap” recipe included fresh avocados, tomatoes, cheese and sriracha wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla.


Lovett was one of 12 elementary school student finalists from across the district who prepared healthy comfort foods – this year’s competition category – for a panel of five judges at the new Advanced Technical Center at Battery Creek High School.  Judges awarded points based on the recipes’ originality, taste, healthy attributes, plate presentation, ease of preparation and kid-friendliness. 


“It was so much fun to cook in front of a big crowd of people and present to the judges,” Lovett said.  “Just awesome.”


The 12 finalists were chosen from more than 100 young cooks from district elementary schools who submitted recipes in this year’s challenge, sponsored by Sodexo.


For his first-place finish, Lovett was awarded a prize basket of cookware, kitchen utensils, a radio-controlled flying drone and a backpack.  He has the chance to move on to the 2017 regional and national Future Chef competitions.  Lovett was assisted in the kitchen by Battery Creek High School culinary arts student Ayla Watts.


Two students tied for first runner-up.  Mossy Oaks Elementary fourth-grader Aubrie Brown dished up baked “Zucchini Boats” filled with ground beef, tomato sauce and cheese), and M.C Riley Elementary third-grader Dylan Crosby drew the judges’ praise for her “Pineapple Salmon with Coconut Rice and Honey Carrots.”  Second runner-up, for her “Incognito Cauliflower Cheese Bites,” was fifth-grader Mia Campbell from Red Cedar Elementary.


Second and third runners-up won cooking utensils and herb garden kits.  All participants won gift baskets.


“The number of entries keeps growing, and this was by far the biggest number yet in the five years we’ve been sponsoring the Future Chef competition,” said Roberta Edwards, general manager of Sodexo operations in Beaufort County.  “To watch these young students in the kitchen, to witness their creativity as well as their determination and concentration, is really something to see.”


The other 2017 finalists were:

  • Sophia Blackwell (Red Cedar Elementary, Chicken Piccata)
  • Miaya Nicole Carter (Whale Branch Elementary, Rainbow Fiesta)
  • McKenzie Griffing (Beaufort Elementary, Healthy Brother of Nachos)
  • Kandice Henderson (Joseph S. Shanklin Elementary, Baked Salmon with Pineapple Salsa)
  • Ava Schott (Mossy Oaks Elementary, Feel-Good Chicken Noodle Soup)
  • Demario Sims (Beaufort Elementary, Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac & Cheese)
  • Na’liyah Taylor (Beaufort Elementary, Fish in Foil)
  • Brady Sacha (M.C. Riley Elementary, Mozzarella Chicken Pasta)

Last year’s competition involved breakfast creations, and fourth-grader Sarah Laizer from Red Cedar Elementary School won with her “Breakfast Pinwheel.”  The 2015 Future Chef was Red Cedar Elementary fourth-grader Loncelle Daley for his Tropical Smoothie.  Sandwiches were the center of attention in 2014, with Okatie Elementary School fifth-grader Jacob Himes winning for his Corn and Black Bean Wrap.  In 2013, Whale Branch Elementary fourth-grader Dairrion McDaniel won for his Mango Berry Taco Tango Salad.


A panel of chefs, Sodexo employees and high school culinary students selected the 12 finalists from more than 100 entries across the district.