Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Future chefs show culinary creativity, win prizes from Uncle Ben

Jacob Spears, a first grader at Hancock Elementary in Tierrasanta, and Isabella Genoso, a seventh grader at Challenger Middle School in Mira Mesa, have won Kindle Fire digital pads and a personal video for their culinary creations in the district's first Kids Create Recipe Contest.
Chef Evan Coben, left, student Jacob Spears
Uncle Ben's Chef Evan Coben, left, winner Isabella Genoso
Watch Videos

Both recipes were Asian themed and used whole grain brown rice and may find their way onto the cafeteria menu next fall. The contest was sponsored by Uncle Ben's Rice, which donated the Kindles and gift cards for the second- and third-place finishers. Students had to create recipes that used brown rice or whole-grain flour tortillas. More than 200 recipes were submitted.

Spears won first in the division for students in grades kindergarten through five for his Teriyaki Vegetable Rice. Katie Bohonak, Noah King, Carlos DeCastro grade four at Green Elementary School in San Carlos took second for their Fiesta Lettuce Wraps. Third place went to Annabelle Isaacson, first grade, Dailiard Elementary School in San Carlos, for her Mexican Pizzaz.

In the division for students in grades six-12, Genoso, a seventh grader, won for her Teriyaki Chicken with Asian Vegetables and Brown Rice. Second place went to fellow Challenger student Sarah Thach, an eighth grader, for her Wrapped Delight. Kyla Yu-Swanson, in grade six at Thurgood Marshall Middle School in Scripps Ranch, took third place with Ma Po Dofu (Asian Brown Rice w/Turkey and Tofu).

Grand prize winners Spears and Genoso each starred in a video with Uncle Ben's Chef Evan Coben.

The Kids Create Recipe Contest invited students from across the district to try their culinary skills by creating a recipe that used either whole grain brown rice or whole grain flour tortillas and could be served on the school lunch menu. The increased use of whole grains in school meals prompted the contest because San Diego Unified's Food Services Department wanted to hear from the students how they would like to see these foods on their cafeteria menu.

After Isabella created her recipe for the video, Challenger students were invited to try the dish and gave rave reviews, according to Sam Esparza, Food Services Site Leader at Challenger. Same goes for Jacob, whose friends and classmates at Dailiard got to enjoy his creation.
The contest was supported by Uncle Ben’s Rice who donated Kindle Fires for the first place winners. The winners also won a starring role in their own cooking video side by side with a professional chef from Uncle Ben’s and had their recipe served to students at their school. The video was produced by Mary Tyranski, a Food Corps service member with the Food Services Department.

For more information about the Kids Create Recipe Contest, contact Joanne Tucker, Food Services Marketing Coordinator at