Photo above: Sarah Laizer shows off some of her winning utensils in the Sodexo Future Chef Competition.
Fourth-grader Sarah Laizer from Red Cedar Elementary School created a dish that was both appealing to the eyes and to the taste buds and ended up taking top honors at the 2016 Sodexo Future Chef competition.
Laizer was one of 15 elementary school student finalists from across the district who prepared breakfast creations–this year’s competition category–for a panel of 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.
The 15 finalists were chosen from 75 young cooks from district elementary schools who submitted recipes in this year’s challenge, sponsored by Sodexo.
Laizer’s winning dish, “The Breakfast Pinwheel,” included peanut butter, cream cheese, apples, blueberries, strawberries on top of an English muffin, drizzled with honey. She won a gold medal, a certificate and a prize basket of kitchen utensils, a Fitbit wearable physical activity tracker and the chance to move on to the 2016 regional and national Future Chef competitions. Sarah was assisted in the kitchen by Battery Creek High School Culinary Arts student Trevon Grier.
First runner-up was Treafon Manigo (Joseph S. Shanklin Elementary) for his “Fresh Fruit Burritos,” featuring bananas, strawberries, peaches, blueberries and yogurt wrapped in a whole wheat wrap. Second runner-up was Brady Sacha (M.C. Riley Elementary) for his “Cinnamon Apple Nachos,” including apples, cinnamon, bananas and peanut butter sauce on pita chips. Third runner-up was Bran’don Jenkins (Joseph S. Shanklin Elementary) for his innovative take on breakfast muffins packed with spinach, eggs, and sausage.
“This is the largest number of entries we’ve seen in the four years that we’ve been sponsoring the Future Chefs competition,” said Roberta Edwards, general manager of Sodexo operations in Beaufort County. “And it’s always so exciting to see our young chefs in action. Their creativity is obvious, but so is their work ethic and their focus in the kitchen.”
The other 2016 finalists were Patrick Allen (Joseph S. Shanklin Elementary, Eggs with Tortilla Chips, Salsa and Cheese), Landen Bradberry (Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts, Breakfast Egg Cups), Jay Brodie (River Ridge Academy, Breakfast 3-in-1), Mia Campbell (Red Cedar Elementary, Mia’s Muffin in a Mug), Uiulani Jean-Charles Folson (Mossy Oaks Elementary, Uu Breakfast Balls), Makayla Arianna Gillson (Joseph S. Shanklin Elementary, French Toast Poppers), Mckenzie Griffing (Broad River Elementary, Palmetto Sunshine), Alex Marinov (Red Cedar Elementary, Breakfast Eggito), Alexia Pintos (Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts, English Muffin Egg Pizza), Liza Raye Sherbert (Mossy Oaks Elementary, The Butterfly), and Sophia Tollerson (M.C. Riley Elementary, Sweet Potato and Egg Breakfast).
Last year’s competition involved healthy snack creations, and Red Cedar Elementary fourth-grader Loncelle Daley took top honors 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.