Woodland elementary students compete in Future Chefs of America competition


Elementary students in Woodland cooked their favorite breakfast recipes for a panel of guest judges in Woodland High School’s commercial-grade kitchen on Wednesday, March 29, during the Future Chefs of America competition. 

Each year, interested students submit recipes based on a different theme and then five finalists are selected to craft their food to share with the judges and attendees, a news release from the district stated. 

This year, fourth grader Ruxson Guajardo made a blackberry, bacon and blue cheese salad, while fourth grader Lillie Tapani made cheesy potatoes. Other dishes included fruit skewers with lime dip made by fourth grade student Bella Donald, a red, white and blue salad by fourth grader Maria Lamberg, and a shrimp salad by third grade student Dalton Feris. 

Each of the students were paired with a food services employee. The student chefs prepared the proper amount of their recipe for parents and community members who attended the event, as well as a special presentation plate for the judges panel. 

Sodexo’s Regional Chef Dave Williams helped the students select a variety of small vegetables and herbs to highlight colors and the presentation of their dishes. 

Guajardo was named the winner at the event. 

“My grandma and mom really like to cook and I enjoy cooking with them,” Guajardo stated in the release. “The most important lesson I learned cooking at the high school was to pay close attention to following the sanitary rules of regularly washing hands and wearing gloves whenever handling food.”

The student chefs received a cookbook and were allowed to keep their official Sodexo-branded hat and smock. 

Sodexo, Woodland Public Schools’ food services provider, sponsors the event to give students an opportunity to exercise their culinary skills and explore food services as a potential career path, the release stated.