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
4th GROW Kids Cooking Challenge. 

The four prize winners are:

The winners are:
Advanced 12 and under: Kate Henderson - Summery Salmon with Silly Dilly Sauce
Honorable Mention: Juliana Dunn
Honorable Mention: Mariel Foley

Beginner 12 and under: Adiya Mehta - Daddy's Dumplings
Honorable Mention: Nevaeh Prodzinski
Honorable Mention: Brooks Duchrow
Honorable Mention: Grayson Kamrowski
Honorable Mention: Graceyn Lang

Advanced teen: Caroline Pohnl and Katie Christensen - Salmon Extravaganza
Honorable Mention: Kaarina Dunn

Beginner teen: Abbi Bucher - Chickpea burgers with pan seared potato patties and sautéed broccoli
Honorable Mention: Team Marcou Oldenburg

Congratulations to our winners, honorable mentions and all of the young chefs who took on this challenge with amazing results!

Beginner Teen Winner
Beginner Teen Winner Recipe Card
Advanced Teen Winner
Advanced teen winners (1)
Beginner 12 and under Winner
Beginner 12 and Under Winner (1)
Advanced Winner 12 & Under
Advanced 12 and under winner


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!

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



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Wonderful experience watching kids work together in the kitchen and being able to enjoy their creations! Great opportunity for teamwork and cooperation in choosing recipes and working alongside each other. - Aspenson Junior Chefs


We are blending families and this was an amazing team building activity for our 4 kids. - Team Marcou Oldenburg

Brooks Cooks and Chef RIley

I felt creative and that I can make my own recipe. I did not know about chick peas before this challenge so I learned something new. - Brooks


Very fun!!! Nervous of ingredients but came to find out how good it was. - Chef Riley

Chef Amirrah and Chef Eve

Chef Amirrah was so excited to get her bag of goodies. We laid out our ingredients and she began to look lost. We talked about the uses for our ingredients, the flavors of them, and the smells. We talked about different thing we could use..... or maybe NOT use. Chef Amirrah made sure to wash her own hands as well as her ingredients before prepping them. She used a mandolin to cut her potatoes, a vegetable peeler on the broccoli, knife on the broccoli and lemon, spatula on the chickpeas, grader on the cheese, and had help with the stove and air fryer. - Chef Amirrah

I have a lot of fun cooking with my mom! - Chef Eve

Chef Hunter and Isaiah's Creations

Learned to try new foods AND LIKED THEM! - Chef Hunter


"I had fun making my food. Mom helped me a little, but I didn't really want her to. I like to do things by myself. I liked the cheese in the potatoes best, and I liked my sauce." Isaiah had a lot of fun creating his recipe! He insisted on doing everything himself and practiced his cutting peeling and cutting skills! He learned about teaspoons and tablespoons which was new for him. He also loved using the mixer to mash up his "gartatoes"! - Isaiah's Creations

Chef Kiera and Ariela and Team nanny

I didn't know hummus was made with chick peas. I like smashing garlic with tool. - Chef Kiera


It was very yummy. I ate entire chicken breast when it was done. Fun to eat what I make. - Chef Ariela


My helper, Thea, was happy to assist, but most of the work for this recipe was not appropriate for a 3 year old. We still had fun! - Team Nanny

Chef Paul and Caroline

I liked improvising and creating my own dinner without a recipe. The hardest part was coming up with a plan. - Chef Paul


This was fun to experiment. It was our first time trying chickpeas and we had to try them to decide how we would flavor and cook them! The Broccoli slaw was good, but even better when we added some bacon. A very fun way to try new things and to take things we love and make them in a new way. - Caroline

Chef Peter and Chef Reid

It was hard to think of something with the ingredients, but it was fun cooking! - Chef Peter


We had so much fun cutting up the veggies and cooking as a family! Thank you for the fun and yummy challenge! - Chef Reid

Chez Leo and Chef Asher

I enjoyed slicing and cooking potatoes. I enjoyed working on my knife skills. I had fun plating the dish and eating it. It was very good. I also had fun cooking with my dad. - Chez Leo


Kids Cooking Challenge is a fun and amazing contest for me. I always look in the schools newsletter for a new Kids Cooking Challenge. Asher

Dinner with Dakota and Golden Chef

I liked getting the bag of surprise ingredients!! My biggest surprise is that I like to eat raw basil, it reminds me of black jelly beans! It was fun to cut the potatoes into different shapes than the normal potato. I had never used chickpeas to bread chicken before and that was my families favorite part. I really liked the fried broccoli. I can't wait until there is another surprise bag! Thanks for doing this. - Dinner with Dakota


I had a great time! I hope there are more challenges like this in the future. My recipe was really fun because it is brand new in the world, it just came out of my brain. It was really fun to make. And my family really enjoyed it! - Golden Chef

Elin's kitchen and Aspen's Eats

I had a lot of fun chopping and mixing ingredients with my mom. Trying the ingredients was fun too! The final recipe was good. Roasted chickpeas may become a new favorite snack! - Elin's Kitchen


Aspen learned to chifonade with her Aunt Hannah's help. She has learned to follow recipes, but this is her first attempt at creating one. Coming up with an oil to cook the meat in was tricky, until we thought about salad dressing. - Aspen's Eats

Martin bros and CJ & his Grandma

There was a lot of debate over how to use our mystery ingredients.  In the end we decided to make broccoli tots with the potatoes, broccoli and microgreens,  basil hummus with the chickpeas and basil and oven chips with the potatoes.  The tots turned to mush.  We had fun making everything and our pickiest food critic tried the hummus and didn't hate it, so we feel like winners! - Martin Bros. 


CJ & Grandma had a great time! - CJ & his Grandma

Shannon's Easter Deli and Aria's Cooking

I thought this was fun because I love cooking and its fun to be challenged a little. I liked how we had to use certain foods, but it was also a challenge only adding 5 other ingredients. I really like how my recipes turned out, and my dogs did too (when I dropped some on the floor they gobbled it up)! And my parents loved it also. - Shannon's Easter Deli


Peeling potatoes was fun! I love chickpeas, so I was excited to use them. Mashed potatoes were a requirement...I love them! - Aria's Cooking

Summer's Sparkle Cafe and Chef Link

I really like cooking-this was really fun. I liked cooking a full meal and then serving it to my family! They thought it was pretty tasty. It was good to come up with a new dipping sauce because my brother doesn't really like vegetables and he ate it this way! At first it was hard to come up with an idea, but I liked the challenge. I had never cooked chicken on the stove before! My favorite part was decorating the plate to look really nice and putting the garnish under and on the chicken! - Summer's Sparkle Cafe


My son Lincoln really enjoyed the challenge. He can be a picky eater when it comes to trying new things and veggies, but when it was something he made, he was proud to try and was very excited to dish up everyone's plate and explain how he cooked it all. We have never cooked with garbanzo beans before, so he was really interested in using those and took time to think about what would go well with them. Watching him plate the dish was my favorite part because he was so careful as he placed them on the plate. - Chef Linc

Chef Jon and Chef Charlotte

Jon liked the cooking challenge. He was very creative in his thought processes and immediately started to come up with his dish as soon as he received the bag of ingredients. He worked independently and took ownership over everything. The end result was a beautiful and very tasty meal that he quickly finished! - Chef Jon


Charlotte loved doing this! It was a wonderful chance for her to use her creativity and learn cooking techniques. She loves her creation! - Chef Charlotte 

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Eli loved being able to take part in the challenge like his big brothers. He had many ideas on what to make with his ingredients, all of which were adventurous and fun. He drew many ideas from his favorite meals that we make as a family but this time he did all the prep and cooking himself. He was very proud of his ability to cut and prepare everything, but even more proud of his completed dish. It was delicious and easily a dish that we would make again. - Chef Eli


This is my 3rd time at this Challenge and every time I learn something new. I had never tried Nasturtium - it is a very pretty and interesting taste to add to my dish. This time I really tried to work with the exact products given and I think I did a great job. And it's something I can take for school lunch! - Kaarina's Burgers

Mariel's Kitchen and Pupp Kids

I had fun tasting nasturtium. I'm taking my salad to school for lunch tomorrow. I liked how fresh it tastes. - Mariel's Kitchen


Neveah learned cutting skills, how to follow directions, and use of the can opener. Kaleb learned cutting skills, how to use the food processor for cutting potatoes and following directions. They also learned how to work together. - Pupp Kids

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We had so much fun!!! It was great to work together to create something new and help us to think on our feet. - CK Cooks


It was fun. I never had curry before. I liked cutting up all the ingredients and mixing it all together in the pan. - Chef Cordelia

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Adiya was not very excited at first but when she thought of an idea of what she could do with ingredients, she was excited and wanted to get to work. She was energetic and wanted to do all steps without any help, but soon realized that it will go faster if we work as team. Also, she have a deep appreciation of amount of work that goes in preparing meals everyday. - Dumpling Duo

This will be Emmett’s third coming challenge. He enjoys the opportunity to cook and try different foods. - Chef Emmett's Team

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Love cooking! - Drake Eats


It was fun being sous chef for a night and assisting and teaching Beckham to independently cook dinner for the family! - Chef Beckham

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I really liked making this! It was fun to make something healthy for my family! - Chef Boy OD


It was fun being the sous chef for a night and assisting and teaching Quinn to independently cook dinner for the family! - Chef Quinn

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I want to do this more often! - Kohlstedt Kooks


I had a lot of fun measuring out ingredients as well as trying new food. Cooking with my mom is always fun! The patties were delicious! - Chef Becker

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We LOVED our new soup recipe and it will be a regular in our home now. June especially like the part of whisking the eggs and drizzling in the hot broth. We have chickens, so always looking for new ways to use eggs. June really liked the flavor of the fresh dill. We were also pleasantly surprised by how much we LOVED roasted radishes. Who knew?! - Chef June Joelle


Creative! - Chef LCK

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This was the best hummus I ever had in my life! - The Hummus Master

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Our cooking challenge experience was fun. Marcella didn't expect the chopping to take as long as it did. When the garlic and olive oil was added to the bag with the potatoes, broccoli and chickpeas it smelled magnificent. The taste of the basil and goat cheese sauce was so delicious for only having a few ingredients. We enjoyed the experience with all our senses! - Triple M 

I loved that I got to try new food! It was fun cooking with my mom and being creative. The final dish was SO yummy!! - Graceyn's Creations


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The Nasturtiums was a new thing! It reminded me of mint. I learned how garbanzo beans are great replaced to make smooth protein. I will definitely be using it more in my cooking. - Julie'sTabbouleh Kitchen


I love making my own recipes! I looked at the ingredients and brain stormed different ideas. Then thought about how I wanted to included some heartier and then something light and I think I did a good job. It was a delicious lunch and the microgreens were something new for me. - Lynley's Lunch-In

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Loved the challenge of only adding 5 extra ingredients! Was fun to look through the cupboard and figure out what would work together. - Chef Lukas

I like thinking of ways to use the ingredients and making up a recipe. I like making food for my family. - Ezra's Eats

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It was pretty fun cooking with my dad. The ingredients they gave us are the only foods I don't like, so it was really hard for me to come up with a recipe that I even wanted to try because I don't like potatoes, beans, onions at all! I do like eggs and cheese though, so I decided to try to mix them all together and then be brave and eat it. I actually thought it was kind of good! My whole family ate it and said it tasted like some good quiche! This was the first time I got to put a pan in the oven. Even though I didn't like the ingredients, I still had fun cooking. - Micah's Mouthwatering Menu


Excited to cook! - Karina Kooks

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It was fun and challenging using the ingredients provided. Nasturtium was new to me and it was fun to work with a new flavor. I was surprised at how delicious it was and lots of ideas of how to use it for other things popped in my head. - Kate's Kreations


Every onion makes you cry. - Chef Ryker

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A wonderful experience. - Chef Wesley


It was good and I learned how to make soup. - Chef Elliot K

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This was fun. It got my daughter to eat broccoli which is not something she is likely to do. We had enough leftovers to freeze and eat at a later time. - Milly


Nevaeh had a lot fun! It did take some time to think through and create. She felt good about her creation. We plan to spread the word and do it again next year! - Moon Chef

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Grayson had a plan in place before we got the mystery ingredients but changed his plan to match the ingredients. He took his time make certain that he used all the ingredients and did not go over his choice ingredients. He enjoyed experimenting and trying new ingredients to cook with, as well new methods of cooking. - Chef Grayson


The eggs and potatoes were awesome. - Chef Eggman

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We had so much fun!! - Q & M


I had a lot of fun with it! My family and I already eat garbanzo beans a lot, so it was easy to have a recipe ready to go with! When I looked in the mystery bag of ingredients, I knew right away that I would love to make my broccoli dish that I always make for my family on a regular basis. Plus the potatoes, I love making the potato patties all the time. So I knew it was going to be easy. I had to narrow down my extra added ingredient choices down to 5, which was a challenge, but I made it work! It was fun to take the pictures after I got everything cooked up. - Chef Abbi

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We had so much fun! Our dish turned out great and was almost too pretty to eat! Yet, we ate it up. We had to research nasturtium, as we had not heard of it before and now feels like it should be something we try to grow in our garden! We learned a few new things about flavors and food preparation, for example, let food cool before adding dill to it and how wonderful raw peppers and cooked mushrooms and nasturtium bring other flavors out. We feel our dish is special because it is Vegan, has a combination of cooked and uncooked ingredients, and lots of flavors going on. - Timm's Fresh Food


This was a new experience for me that I really enjoyed! It took a long time to prep all the ingredients with the washing, chopping and dicing. It made me to try new foods that I have never had together and I actually liked it. The most impressive was my homemade hummus. I never realized how easy it was to make and it was actually very good! I will be making this again instead of buying store hummus. My family enjoyed the recipe as well and were impressed with the final products. It was a great new experience! - Kinley's Kreations

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Gretchen enjoyed that the cooking challenge made her experience something new and she liked having to experiment to get the recipe right. Especially liked having a yummy treat at the end. Clayton liked learning new ways to use ingredients. He had fun doing this. - The Gerig Kitchen


This was my fourth cooking competition. I love to make food and come up with new recipes. The mystery ingredients stumped me at first, but once I started thinking about each item and how I'd like to use it this meal came together.  My family was surprised at how good roasted radish taste with just some olive oil and seasonings.  - Charlie Cooks

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Sam loved the challenge of using the different ingredients. He tasted each ingredient he wasn't familiar with and thought of what to put it with and what extra ingredients might add to the dish. He thought his final dish was delicious and went back for seconds! - Chef Sam


This was such a great activity that Henry enjoyed with his Grandma! His favorite part was cutting with a “real” knife😝 - Chef Hendog

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I had fun cooking with my Mema. - Chef Adia


As a mom, I loved the ease of registering and picking up the mystery ingredients. Shelby said this about the experience. "I really enjoyed getting in the kitchen and getting to make some good food. I had never really had chick peas before and loved that they made a tasty cheese sauce for the potatoes" - Shelby's Tasty Eats

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The ingredients were hard to put all together in one dish. - Chef Eva Lynn


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



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