Mini, future chefs compete at McKay High School


Mini, future chefs compete at McKay High School

8:29 a.m. PDT March 18, 2016

Mozzarella. Egg. Turkey Sausage.

These three ingredients filled Maleah Forsythe’s breakfast burritos at the seventh annual Future Chefs event Thursday at McKay High School.

Maleah, 10, served a side of pineapple and cilantro with her dish, which is one that her father and step-father make for her frequently.

Maleah was one of 18 fourth and fifth graders who participated in the competition after being selected as finalists for their submitted, healthy breakfast recipes. The goal of the event was to teach students healthy eating habits in a fun environment.

More than 150 students submitted recipes for the competition. Nancy Satalich, assistant director of the Salem-Keizer School District’s Food and Nutrition Services department, said a team from the department decided who the finalists were based on how the students wrote their recipes and measurements, and how they described the food.

Maleah said she loves cooking and wants to become a private chef one day. She said she’s been cooking with her family since she could understand what they were doing.

Her favorite thing to cook besides breakfast burritos is orange chicken.

Maleah and all other participants went through a safety training Thursday morning before they prepared their dishes in the high school’s former home economics classroom.

As the students prepared their food they communicated with other chefs, moving around the tight room with large or hot pans and plates.

They focused on plating before they presented their dishes to the panel of 11 judges The panel consisted of principals from local schools and a school board member.

Maleah said she was nervous and excited, but that overall the event was really fun. She said her favorite part was plating her food.

Each participant got a framed award and medal, and they were all allowed to keep their new aprons and chef’s hats.

Additionally, the judges gave out a handful of awards to the following:

  • Health-conscious award: Carmen Pote, Battle Creek Elementary School
  • Kid-friendly award: Lyrissa Trippett, Harritt Elementary School
  • Fun food award: Victoria Bucher, Grant Elementary School
  • Best plate presentation: Kaitlyn Bellinger, Washington Elementary School
  • Judge’s choice: Brianna Saleen, Yoshikai Elementary School

Each of the above students won extra prizes, such as professional bowls, spatulas and measuring spoons, depending on which award they won. Saleen won the grand prize, which added a gold medal, an electronic food scale, a cook book and a Fit Bit. She cooked eggs and ham bowls.

Terri Tucker, district Food and Nutrition Service manager, said this was a great opportunity for the students to learn how to choose healthy options and healthy ingredients., (503) 399-6745 or follow on Twitter @Nataliempate or

Published by Natalie Pate

Natalie Pate is a freelance journalist and author based in Salem, Oregon. She wrote about education for more than seven years at the Statesman Journal and now covers education and other topics throughout the Pacific Northwest. She is originally from Colorado and earned her B.A. in Politics and French from Willamette University.

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