Kids Cooking Challenge Entries

Wow - so much creativity!  Thank you to all of our young chefs and the grown-ups who helped them explore cooking with fresh ingredients. 

It was not easy choosing just four contestants to win the
3rd GROW Kids Cooking Challenge. 

The four prize winners are:

Beginners 12 and under - Atley & Afton Abing
Beginners 12 and under - AAA's Tasty Creations
Beginners Teen Winner - Ireland
Beginners teen - Chef I
Advanced 12 and under - Juliana Dunn
Advanced 12 and under - Island Oasis Restaurant
Advanced Teens - Kaarina Dunn
Advanced Teens - Kaarina's Meatless Kitchen


A note from the judges:

Let me start off with a WOW! Our students love looking at what awesome ideas your students come up with! It was a difficult decision in many of the categories because there was some REALLY cool stuff!

This decision is always difficult for us. There are so many really cool things we see that it is sometimes hard to decide. Honestly, sometimes it comes down to plating and the description of the dish. There are several of these that the students want to try to make!

So for those who didn’t come out on top this time, let me point out some of the amazing highlights:

Someone made crepes!

Someone else made a pizza!

The pineapple as a serving dish…the zucchini fries…food plated with smiley faces.

Siblings working together!

Global ingredients and flavors!

The little guy intently mincing his shallots with serious skill…knives bigger than the hands holding them…and lots and lots of genuine smiles!

We are honored every time we are asked to do this. Thank you for this opportunity to see what this next generation can do when they play with their food!


Margaret Ninneman and Western’s Food Production Specialist Students



David & Kaarina

It was so good my mom had 2 bowls. It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed figuring out what to do with all these random ingredients. It helped when I cut up all the fruits and veggies. Then I just had to put everything together. I also liked that I could use an instant pot to create my recipe. - David's Delights


I enjoyed the Kids Cooking Experience because it helped me grow as a cook and use ingredients that made me think outside the box, tomato paste and ginger. First time I tasted Coconut Cream - it is so good!! I learned to create new recipes (coconut pineapple pudding) and record them, which I usually don't do. - Kaarina's Meatless Kitchen

Gavin & James

It was harder than expected, but it was still fun to do. - Gavin


It was fun! I cook a lot with my Mom and she helps me come up with new ways to make things. I like to experiment in the kitchen even if it doesn't work out all the time. One of my favorite ingredients to use is eggs...not sure why I didn't use them in this recipe?! - Chef Bro.Ar.Dee

Eli & Sam_Grace

It was a little challenging at first to include all of the ingredients in my recipe but once I decided on what to make everything went smoothly and I had a lot of fun! - Chef Eli


We had a lot of fun learning what ingredients we got to use and also planning the menu together. Sam did the cutting/prep and Grace did the cooking. It was fun to work as a team and our family of 6 enjoyed our meal for dinner. Dad even went back for seconds. We plan to use the leftover ingredients to make a pina colada pudding. - Sam & Grace's Tastes

Natalie & Brynn

It was great to learn the best order of coking steps. - Roselynn Fresh


I saw all kinds of ways to mix food. - Tasty Farm House

Ellie & Nadia

It was really fun, I like sautéing things, and I really like making kale chips because they taste so good. I hadn't used the coconut stuff before, it was good. - Chef Ellie


It was hard at first to decide what to do with all of it. Then I decided to use some of ingredients and make a dessert to go with my meal. I have never worked with ginger before. That was different but not bad. I had to watch videos on how to skin it and cut it. It was a lot of fun and my family really enjoyed the food I made. We are making both things again soon, my mom said I can make this for supper. I would never tried ginger before but I really liked the sorbet and it's healthier than ice cream. I told my aunt about it and she wants to try my recipe too. I had alot of fun and want to do it again. - Nadia's Country Cooking

Gianna & Addyson

Giana spent hours on her prep, she really enjoyed thinking outside of the box with the ingredients. This was her first time using the steaming and cooking with kale, coconut ingredients. Thank you for doing this and for the experience! - Gianna's Kitchen of Love


It was a blast to experiment and try new things! - Mowgli's Kitchen

James & Macy

The best part about the Kids Cooking Challenge was I was able to have fun learning to cook a new recipe and tasting something new with the help of my Papa. - Jamo's Kitchen


It was fun to figure out how long to cook each ingredient and how to time it all together. I liked finding ways to put all the ingredients together and what type of flavors I want to have in my final dish. - Macy's Morsels

Kaia & Juliana

We had a great time cooking and creating something new. She really enjoyed stirring and putting things in the pot. - Kaia's Cooking Creations


I really enjoy smoothies, but have never done with Coconut Cream. It was so good out of the can I thought a smoothie had to be made. I really want to sell my recipe to a restaurant, since it was sooo good! The pineapple added so much flavor. Next time I would come up additional seasonings for the stir-fry, like maybe cilantro. - Islander Oasis Restaurant

Kate & Wesley

Kate is often inspired in the kitchen by watching cooking challenge shows on the Food Network. This is the third time she has participated in the Grow contest and it doesn't get any easier! It can be challenging to create an original dish but also exciting at the same time. Kate took care to make sure the ingredients complemented each other and that it was a dish she would not only love but enjoy serving to her family. - Kate's Creations


It was fun to cook and prepare the meal. I want to do it every week. I learned I don't like warm pineapple but it makes a yummy ice cream. - Chef Wesley

Lydia & Nolan

I enjoyed cooking with GROW ingredients. I was surprised to see coconut cream as I have never had it before. But I tasted it and liked it! My meal turned out so much better than I thought it would and I loved it! It was a great experience and I had very much fun cooking with my family. I hope to cook with GROW again. - Lydia's Kitchen


It was fun to discover new ingredients. I forgot how much I liked fresh ginger and I would like to cook with that again. I also really enjoyed the coconut cream. It have never had that before. That was so good and so sweet, all by itself. I also made hot cocoa with the leftover coconut cream to warm up after we put up our Christmas lights. Yummy! I enjoyed brainstorming ideas with my family throughout the weekend and cooking on Sunday. It is fun to be creative in the kitchen and I feed proud when I can do more by myself. - Nolan's Nosh

AAA & Hope

Our kiddos had a blast doing this! When we first picked up the ingredients, we had some great conversations about what to make. Ultimately we landed on breakfast because of a busy schedule. Each was great about taking turns and having their assigned roles/parts of the dish. They took great pride in their part! It was fun having some conversations around the ingredients, their nutritional value and flavors, how to use certain utensils and the techniques of using them, and working together as a team through the whole process (even cleanup!). Finally, I am SO proud of how they both ate everything they made! My daughter will normally eat anything, so I wasn't too surprised that she ate everything on her plate. However, my son can be quite picky. HE ATE EVERYTHING!!! I'm not totally sure he's ever tried zucchini or tomatoes before. 🙂 His plate was clean! THANK YOU for the opportunity to do this and for all of your hard work in setting this up and creating it. These types of events are AMAZING for our community and for our families. It is very much appreciated! - AAA's TastyCreations


Hope took charge of measuring, crumbling, orange opening and mixing (and the taste testing). Her grownup helped her with the frying and cutting for safety reasons. She was a bit skeptical about the yeast, but after researching she decided she wanted to mix it in with the flour because "it doesn't taste like much." She really enjoyed the tomatoes and the yogurt and Nutella mixture. She would also like you to note that "the crepes were different sizes because of Aly," which is true. - Hope's Homemade Creations

Asher & Abigail

It was really fun. I didn't know about some of the ingredients so I had to look up how to use them. I liked the challenge of how to figure out how to use the ingredients they gave us to make something delicious. - Chef Asher


I learned a lot about how different flavors go together and that you have to plan a lot before you start cooking. It took a lot of work and time. I had to learn to use the knife carefully as I cut the zucchini and orange and tomatoes. I liked being creative with the plating of the dish. Crushing the crackers was a lot of fun and coating the meat with the breading mixture. I learned how to cook brown rice without overcooking it. It was challenging to not add more ingredients than the five. I thought it turned out pretty good and looked delicious. - Abigail's Cuisine

Ava & Emmett

It was a lot of fun to compete and come up with a dish that I have never made before! - Chef Ava


This was a harder challenge with some new combinations. Emmett had fun working through it! - Cooking with Emmett

Clara & Ellie

It was fun, I learned how to cut better and I learned how to make an omelet and salsa. I enjoyed the omelet. - Cooking w/ Joy


It was so fun! I tried to come up with something other than a breakfast dish with the eggs, and we were surprised at how yummy it turned out. I wasn't sure what nutritional yeast even was, but it added a great flavor to the pasta sauce! - Ellie's Eats

Ella & Kira (1)

Ella (7) did absolutely everything herself. She was so creative in her planning and focused in her execution. It took an extremely long time for her to chop everything up to her satisfaction but she wanted to do literally every step of the planning, prepping, chopping, cooking, decision-making, problem-solving, and serving herself. She was so proud! She's a wonderful help in the kitchen but this was her first meal that was 100% her own...Definitely not her last!! Thank you for a fantastic experience. - Ella's Deli


Kira (5) did absolutely everything herself. She was so creative in her planning and focused in her execution. It took an extremely long time for her to chop everything up to her satisfaction but she wanted to do literally every step of the planning, prepping, chopping, cooking, decision-making, problem-solving, and serving herself. She was so proud! She's a wonderful help in the kitchen but this was her first meal that was 100% her own...Definitely not her last!! Thank you for a fantastic experience. - Kira's Kitchen

Eloise & Elian

It was really fun and enjoyable. It was tricky and hard to get all of the ingredients to work together, but it was so fun when we did! - Weezy's Whip Ups


Cooperation is key (especially when siblings are involved!). Elian handled the more "hazardous" equipment while his brother stirred ingredients together. We discovered that our particular orange peel had an intensely bitter astringency AFTER we stirred it into the sauce, but Elian found that a healthy dose of honey and an extra pinch of salt resolved the problem. (Lesson: taste ingredients in isolation as you go!) The dipping sauce proved especially versatile: it accepted fried eggs, fritters, and crackers without skipping a beat! - Mr. Chef Elian

Ezio & Isaac

Ezio did not like the taste of the Greek yogurt. He thought it was like other yogurts. We did a taste test of each item to see what flavor they will bring to the dish. After adding the orange to the Yogurt, it tasted much better. The sweetness of the Orange added more flavor to the greek yogurt. - Dine with Ezio


I liked that is was a challenge and that the ingredients were a surprise. It was fun to see what was in the bag and then figure out what I was going to make. I also liked watching my family eat the meal I made. They all loved it! - Chef Isaac

Ezra & Cullen

I enjoyed cooking. Making this kind of meal was something new for me. - Ezra Eats


Cullen had fun preparing the dishes and using ingredients he doesn't normally cook with. - Chef C

Grace & Jaxon

I had a good time. I liked being creative in the kitchen. The hardest part was timing the different foods so they weren't burnt or undercooked. The ingredients were a surprise for me because there were so many and it was hard at first to come up with a recipe that had all the ingredients. I normally don't like eggs, but this was pretty good! - Grace's Cafe' Creations


Jaxon loves to help in the kitchen, cracking eggs, stirring, chopping. His favorite part was drinking the smoothie. - Jaxon the Chef

Julia & Ella

It really helped me learn how to be creative with new ingredients and making good choices with healthy food. I also found myself using familiar ingredients in new ways. It was really fun to experiment and create. - Chef Julia


It was fun. I would want to do it again. I learned that making fried rice is pretty easy and will be making it again. - Ella's Restaurant

Kaleb & Allie

He had so0 much fun. He learned about cutting, roasting, zesting, slicing and using different ingredients. It was a fun time! - Chef Kaleb


Allison had fun learning how to cut up the veggies and mixing them in the pan. She did not particularly like all the extras in the scrambled eggs. - Frank Family

Leo & Mariel

Leo had a blast creating his egg and cracker salad and the whole family ate it for dinner! - Chief Leo


My mom made latkes once this summer so when I saw the crackers and zucchini and other ingredients, we brainstormed that this could be a good recipe and something that I could do. I make pancakes with my mom almost every weekend and I am getting better and better at flipping them at the right time. It takes practice, and if you flip too soon, it makes a mess. These latkes are kind-of like pancakes and they were better than the ones my mom made before. I think the orange in the sauce made it much tastier, and the nutritional yeast added more flavor. Yummy. I like that I can help more and more in the kitchen. This was a lot of fun. - Mariel's Marvelous Meals

Luke & Isla_Auggie

It was so fun! I ate everything up! - Luke's Supper


The kids had a fun time trying to come up with a creative breakfast theme. They love waffles and omelettes so we decided to try it out in waffle maker! The kids also love fruit pizza so crackers and fruit was a no brainer! - Ginger Chefs

Matt & Steven

It took a long time to cook the meal, but it was super fun! The meal was delicious! - Chef Matt

Rose & Meindls

We had a great time CHOPPING all the fresh veggies. The red color of the tomatoes inspired the LOVE-THEMED SALAD. - Chef Rose


It was fun! It was interesting and hard. It was delicious! It was fun making it and fun tasting it. We like cooking but never did a recipe like that before. Sometimes it's annoying working with your brothers. But it was fun that we were working together! - The Meindl Master Chefs

Tessa & Cobi

I made so many things! - T's Diner

I loved coming up with ideas on what to make while having special time with Dad. - Chef Cobi

Wes & Lynley

It was easy and we had to use a lot of stuff. It was fun cooking with my mommy. We had lots of fun coming up with my wecipe and I think daddy really liked it. - Wecipe by Wes


It was fun using the zester and scissors to cut things. The nutritional yeast tasted like cheesy flavor to use it as a parmesan substitute in the zucchini fries. I used a egg cooker to make the eggs cook more easily for me. My favorite part with breading the fries. I had never done that before and it turned out great. I got to eat my plate for dinner! - Trio Note Cafe

Charlie & Gus (1)

I love to cook and create my own recipes. The hardest part of this challenge was figuring out what to do with the fresh ginger and coconut cream. They worked well together using the ice cream maker and pinnaple puree to make a frosty treat.  - Charlie Cooks


I was so excited to start cooking that I was chopping vegitables before I even had a plan. Then I stoped came up with a plan and started cooking.  It was fun to try new foods.  My smoothie was the best part for me.  My mom and big brother loved the quiche so much they ate them all up.  I tasted it, but decided it wasn't for me.  - Gustav's Kitchen


Everyone wins when young chefs explore fresh, healthy ingredients.
Thank you to all of our participants for sharing your smiles and talents!


Yellow Bold Photo Food YouTube Channel Art


Special Thanks to the Western Technical College Culinary Pathways students for sharing their expertise and time as the judges for this event.