Thursday March 20, 2014
Reflections From the Rebel Chefs
Five years ago, we put chefs’ hats on our 8th grade heads and cooked like crazy at our first Vermont Junior Iron Chef competition. This Saturday, as graduating seniors, we’ll be chopping and sautéing one last time at the JIC 8th annual competition. We can’t wait!
In the event, 67 middle and high school teams are charged to each create a vegetarian dish, using local ingredients, that can be served in a school kitchen. That means our recipe not only has to wow the dozen-plus judges—it also has to meet the all-important “are kids going to eat this?” test.
Guided by our coach Laura Wright, coordinator at the Healthy Living Market Learning Center, we’re making a dish that’s inspired by one of our favorite meals now being served in our SBHS cafeteria. Who knew a school kitchen could turn out an amazing Eggs Benedict? We’ve been lucky enough to win our heats for three years in a row, and of course we would love to make this year a perfect “four-peat.” But we can honestly say it doesn’t matter, because we’ve gotten so many rewards from this adventure already:
• We’ve had great coaches who’ve taught us to be fearless: Along with Laura, Nina Lesser-Goldsmith, General Manager of Healthy Living Market, is a friend who always inspires us.
• We’ve learned cooking skills that will serve us well as we head off to college, from dicing onions and making crepes to pressing tofu.
• We discovered we actually like most vegetables—if they’re in season, grown nearby, and cooked with care.
• We’ve seen the food in our schools, and at our home tables, get better and better as it includes more Vermont-produced foods (like the JIC recipes do).
• Best of all, we’ve had so much fun, and strengthened our friendships along the way. As college will soon take us in different directions, those memories will mean more than ever.
We hope you can come to the competition this Saturday. You’ll be amazed at what student chefs can cook up!
The 8th annual Junior Iron Chef Vermont competition takes place Saturday, March 22 at the Champlain Valley Exposition grounds in Essex Junction from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
The Rebel Chefs compete in the morning heat, which begins at 9:30 a.m.
Tickets at the door ($3 per person; $5 per family).
For more details and a schedule, visit www.jrironchefvt.org.