By: Iesha MarshallFifth grader Sophia Caley loves to cook at home and brought her skills to a cook-off challenge hoping to be crowned Lexington-Richland District Five Chopped Champion.The competition was inspired by Food Networks "Chopped" television series challenging contestants to cook a full course meal in 30 minutes.
Lexington-Richland District Five's Center for Advanced Technical Studies hosted the event Wednesday to show students that cooking can be fun and healthy meals can be tasty.Teams had 35 minutes to create a meal using mystery ingredients like fish sticks and kale, peppers and tortilla wraps.
Each team included a student nutrition worker, a teacher, and a fifth grader from each of four Lexington-Richland District Five schools.
This was Sophia's first time competing."I enjoy cooking... I don't think I want to be a chef but I enjoy cooking," said Sophia.
Sophia's mom Kim Caley cheered her on in the audience and said Sophia enjoys helping out in the kitchen at home.
"At home she's not a very adventurous eater so this is really helping her to branch out and try new things," said Caley.Sophia's team cooked fish tacos, sauteed kale and an apple parfait for dessert. Four judges graded the team's meals on creativity, team work, taste and overall presentation.Jeff Urso is the chef at the center and was a judge of the competition.
"I loved watching the teams get together and be creative and cook. It was a lot of fun," said Urso.Leaphart Elementary is team four and was the winner, wowing the judges with their cinnamon fruit salad.
Sophia's team didn't win but she said she still enjoyed helping out and cooking.This is the second year the center has held the competition and they plan to use some of the team's recipes in their kitchen.