Future Chefs Challenge 2015

The West Haven Public Schools Food Services Department held a Future Chefs competition for fourth-graders April 30 and named a Washington Elementary School student the winner after she won over judges with a salmon and asparagus dish.

This is the second year in a row the department, which is run by Sodexo, has held the contest. The Food Services Department received such impressive submissions that it will be incorporating the recipes of this year’s six finalists on its school menus in June and plans to compile a Future Chefs competition cookbook of student contributions next year.

The contest theme was healthy snacks, while last year’s was sandwiches.

“We were really looking forward to the Future Chefs competition this spring because of the wonderful submissions we received last year, and this year’s group definitely raised the bar. We love seeing the students’ creativity in the dishes they come up with and hearing the stories behind the recipes,” Food Services Director Meg Kingston said.

In early April, Food Services collected submissions for snack recipes from fourth-graders in the district’s six elementary schools and chose one winner from each school. The six students then made their recipes at the April 30 championship in the West Haven High School cafeteria with assistance from Food Services Department staff members. A panel of judges—Superintendent of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro, Mayor Edward M. O’Brien and Food Services chef Dawn Melillo—sampled the six snacks and scored them based on various categories.

Washington student Halie Chancio earned the highest amount of points for her salmon and asparagus dish and explained that it’s a recipe that has been made by her family members for as long as she can remember.

“I’m really excited and happy,” she said after being declared the winner and receiving a basket of cooking supplies and summer-themed goodies as her grand prize.

The other contestants were Forest Elementary School student Dominic Konakeski, who made veggie "pops” after taking note of the popularity of cake pops and deciding to attempt a healthy version; Edith E. Mackrille Elementary School student Emma Davey, who baked muffins made out of applesauce; Savin Rock Community School student Shirleya Lawal, who offered a smoothie recipe she uses at home when encouraging her sister to eat healthy food; Alma E. Pagels Elementary School student Kameryn Parlee, who whipped up some cheese crisps with avocado; and Seth G. Haley Elementary School student Nina Reed, who created lettuce wraps stuffed with chicken, grapes and a few other healthy ingredients. Each received a prize of cooking utensils and a cookbook.

  Contact: Communications Director Susan Misur, 203-937-4300 X7114; susan.misur@whschools.org