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Sandlapper Elementary Student Wins Future Chef Competition


Kaylee Epps’s Teriyaki Salmon Bowl was simple and delicious. The dish, which featured crisp shredded carrots and purple cabbage, fresh avocado and tender salmon served over a bed of brown rice, beat out 17 other tasty offerings to win the eighth annual Future Chefs cooking competition. The competition was hosted by Richland Two's Food Services partner, Sodexo.

Epps is a fourth grader at Sandlapper Elementary School. As the winner of the competition, she received an assortment of culinary equipment including a wok, frying pan, flexible cutting boards and many other cool prizes. All participants received a medal, framed certificate and gift bag. Epps now moves on to the regional round of this national competition.

This year's Future Chefs theme was Asian Fusion Recipes. Sodexo cafe staff again assisted students as they battled it out in the kitchen at Jackson Creek Elementary School. Three judges: Ashley Page, SC coordinator End Child Hunger; Dr. Marshalynn Franklin, assistant superintendent for Richland Two;  and Chef James Jones Sodexo Senior Executive Chef allotted points to each dish based on five categories:
  1. Health-Conscious Foods – how was nutrition integrated in the ingredients & preparation?

  2. Simple, Kid-friendly Preparation – ask the participant how it was prepared. Which entry provided the best product, while keeping the preparation method simple enough for most kids to easily execute?

  3. Fun Foods – would kids consider it fun (and therefore actually eat it!)?

  4. Judges Choice – pick your favorite overall submission that did not qualify as one of the other four category winners.

  5. Best Table Presentation – who did the best job presenting their dish?

Students who incorporated the following ingredients into their recipes received bonus points: low sodium soy sauce, low sodium teriyaki sauce, brown rice, bok choy, fresh Mushrooms, lean chicken, lean pork, rice noodles, tofu, garlic or ginger.

The Future Chefs competition is a national program with over 100 school districts participating across the country. A team of Sodexo culinary experts, dietitians and celebrity chefs will review and pick five finalists to compete in the national competition. The public will then get to vote on the five finalists, to crown the National Future Chef Champion.

Take a look at our Flick Album showcasing this year's Richland Two Future Chefs Competition.