The kitchen at was buzzing with activity Wednesday afternoon as nearly 20 fourth- and fifth-graders from the participated in the district's fifth-annual Kids Can Cook competition.
The contest encourages students to prepare healthy, kid-friendly snacks that are easy to make and tasty to eat. Judges from Sodexo, the school district's food service provider, evaluate the entries based on their use of healthy ingredients, kid-friendly preparation and table presentation.
Makenzie Snow, a fourth-grader at , said she got the idea for her bean-and-cheese-filled tacos from a dish she ate frequently when she was younger.
"I loved it, and my mom taught me how to make it so that I could just make it for myself," Makenzie said.
Other students were using the competition to try out less-familiar recipes. Fifth-grader Lauren Wells, a student at Elizabeth Blackwell Elementary in Sammamish, was preparing buttermilk muffins using a recipe from a cookbook she received for Christmas.
"I've only made them once, but they were really good," Lauren said.
Ella Mainwaring Foster, a fourth-grader at Wilder Elementary who lives in Redmond, won the judges' choice award for "Ella's Silly Sandwich Sticks," a snack of lunch meat, lettuce, tomatoes, olives and cream cheese wrapped around crispy bread sticks.
Ella said she came up with the recipe as a fun alternative to a traditional sandwich.
"I like to make things on my own and surprise everyone else," she said.
Symone Mainwaring Foster, Ella's mother, said her daughter has always been interested in cooking and that the contest is a good confidence boost for her and the other students.
"It's been great for her because it's been her ideas, and she gets to follow through," Mainwaring Foster said.
Here is the complete list of this year's Kids Can Cook winners:
- Use of Healthy Ingredients Award: Ryan Koshy, , “Healthy Veggie Bites”
- Kid-Friendly Preparation Award: Surbhi Jain, Wilder Elementary, “Fruit Train”
- Tasty & Satisfying Award: Rabeeya Asif, , “Mixed Pancake Surprise”
- Best Table Presentation: Silvana Segura, Rosa Parks Elementary, “Surimi Boats”
- Judges' Choice Award: Ella Mainwaring Foster, Wilder Elementary, “Ella’s Silly Sandwich Sticks”