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 two contestants to win the
GROW Kids Cooking Challenge. 

The two prize winners of the kitchen goods are:

KCC Portait Format (2)
Beginner Winner Spring 2021 Lynley Loaded Sweet Taco Bowl
KCC Portait Format (1)


A note from the judges:

We had a difficult choice! There were some amazing ideas and presentations in the groups, and we were all really impressed! Some of the things the culinary students were particularly impressed with – someone made their own sweet potato tortillas, the Breakfast Scramble looked very professional, several students attempted meatless burgers (a challenge to get them to hold together), the sweet potato “nachos” were a clever base, and they loved the use of pheasant in one of the dishes!

The two dishes that impressed them the most had it all – the appearance made a good first impression, the concept was creative, and we all wanted to make and eat the dish!

Beginner: Lynley Dunn, Loaded Sweet Potato Taco Bowl

Advanced: Emma Turley, Carrot and Coconut Curry

It really was close between several entries in each category, and we wish we could throw in a few honorable mentions. Wow. These kids did a great job across the board! Please let them know we are all proud of what they did.


Thank you for including us in this process!

Margaret Ninneman
Program Head and Instructor, Culinary Pathways
Western Technical College




I really enjoyed this challenge. It was a lot of fun coming up with a design for my final recipe. I wanted it to look just perfect and I spent a lot of time arranging my final plate making it look just right. This was really fun! - Carson


I LOVE cooking dinner! - Madison


I love to cook! This was really fun because it allowed me to create my own recipe and I liked the challenge of having to use the certain ingredients while only being allowed to add a few more. It was fun to test my food throughout so I could see how everything was coming together. I really enjoyed this cooking challenge. - Zac


It was really fun and I got to enjoy time with my dad! - Lincoln


It was a fun experience, I had never cooked completely on my own before, it was hard to cut the sweet potato, but it was still fun. I enjoyed eating my meal and look forward to making it again. - Aerin


It was GREAT! - Annika


This was an amazing experience for our family! Nora was able to take pride in making and eating her own creation which brought us all together for a great time. We will definitely be doing this more often as a family. Thanks for the opportunity and idea! - Anderson Family

I ended up making it with my sister because we ran out of time. Chopping up veggies was fun. - Reggie


We truly had so much fun. We cook weekly as part of our class and this was certainly a challenge that the students went above and beyond to complete. Again, thank you for this wonderful opportunity! - Mrs. Jessie


I had a lot of fun and hope to be a chef someday! - Chef Lincoln


Fun Bonding Experience for the girls! - Harden House


This was Mariah's first time making a taco. Mariah said this was the funnest thing she has ever cooked. She also mentioned it being "really interesting" because it was a different kind of taco than she is use to. She has never heard of cotija cheese before. Mariah tried her taco and she would eat it again and again and again. She said cutting the onion was the hardest. She said she learn that sometimes you have to use the front of the knife or the middle depending on what you are trying to do. It was a fun challenge. She had a very great time. She said it was very entertaining. She plans to take her recipe with her when she moves to her own house some day. - Wieser Family


It was fun. A little tough coming up with a recipe with only 5 extra ingredients! - Lily


Cooper said he had a lot of fun and he demonstrated confidence in the kitchen.


I didn't think that I could make something using black beans and a sweet potato. I had no clue what to make, but after searching online, we decided to give the burgers a try. I had fun because I love to cook!!! - Lydia


I loved it! I was so excited to cook with my dad. After I was done I had my younger brothers taste test my recipe and they loved it! I called my grandma and grandpa also to tell them all about it. It was SO much fun! - Alex

Gus New

So fun. I learned a lot - Kirsten


It was fun.  I tried my brother's fiesta soup.  It tasted really, really good.  I learned that the leaf stuff smells bad, but it made my salsa taste good. - Gus

KCC 11

I liked the challenge! I learned how to make salsa in a pepper, and bake chicken, and cook a sweet potato. - Danny


I enjoyed the black beans. Next time I would not add the white potatoes, and instead use more sweet potatoes. - Chef Trey

KCC 12

We had a lot of fun brainstorming ideas and learning how to cook everything. - The Kitty Cafe


This was really fun and we can't wait to do it again. We tried sweet potatoes for the first time! - Ben & Alex

KCC 13

I remember when I picked up my box, I was told to used the cilantro stems. So I took off the leaves, and use the food processor to get the stems small to use in my salad. Easy to make and safe using the food processor for dicing. I learned about how to make the most of my small number of ingredients. Also, learned how to break my cooking into steps that I can explain to someone else. Learned to also taste while I cooked, which was new to me. - Good Note Cafe


I had fun cooking and finding a recipe to incorporate all the ingredients. I really enjoyed this challenge and hope to do it again next year. - Tristan

KCC 14

It was most definitely one of things that I had to keep on going back on and checking to make sure everything was amazing or correct. There were a lot of things I learned. That include if mixing the black beans and the rice too long results into black rice. Or when cooking a pepper in the oven it welts. The experience was very informing and the ingredients were very difficult to think of something to make. The biggest challenge was understanding that I could use 5 extra ingredients. I was only for a while that I started using other ingredients. I had a wonderful time. - Reese


Emmett really enjoyed thinking about his recipe and making it!

KCC 15

I liked cooking this with my mom. I could tell that I got better at cutting green peppers but I still don't like to cut onions. We made this a little too spicy for me, so I added spicy to the name! - Roy


It was fun trying a new recipe of something I have never eaten before. And it turned out yummy! - Ellie

Charlie NEW

It was a lot of fun. I like tasting the fresh ingredients while cooking. The burger was yummy! I was surprised that I liked the bean burger (but I like a meat burger better). - Thomas


I love to cook, but had never used dried beans or poblano pepper before.  At first I thought I'd make a white chilli, but with all of the colorful vegetables I decided this was more of a fiesta soup.  My aunt tasted it and said she would even order it in a restaurant.  Even my picky little brothers liked it.  That is success.  - Charlie


I had a super fun time. I would love to do this again. If I were to do it again, I would want to do a dessert making contest. I liked the surprise. - David


The experience was awesome! I chose to pick the advanced cooking basket because I like to challenge myself with food sometimes. I planned out my plan, and the plan worked. Although it was orange from the carrots, and I wanted it more of a curry yellow. I really want to go to college and learn how to deal with types of foods and learn all about spices and their property and their use. So when I fill out a form for going to cooking school and someone asks me if I ever had any experience, then this Cooking Competition was my experience! When I was in the online school, every Wednesday I would watch a Grow video and learn all about vegetables and nature, so those videos I watched really helped me. So Grow, thank you for making a difference in my life, and letting me join this cooking competition. 🙂 - Emma


It was fun to use new ingredients. My mom is on a special diet so we made two kinds, one with rice and one with cauliflower rice- I liked the rice but not the cauliflower. - Wesley


It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed tasting the fresh ingredients along the way. The meal was sooooo gooooood. I want to make it again for my friends! - Olivia


The challenge was fun but some things were hard. The poblano peppers were hard to peel. The most fun part was that I just got to cook. I am so proud that I did it by myself and I was excited to do this. My best idea was at the last minute deciding to add the vegan bacon to the stuffed peppers. My mom typed what I was doing while I was cooking to create the recipe. - Addie


I participated in the cooking challenge last time and had so much fun. This time I tried to be even more creative and really enjoyed the dish I made. I only wish you could eat it instead of just looking at it! Thanks GROW for this fun challenge. Our family is excited to use pinto beans more often in the future. - Kate


Nevaeh said finding a recipe was slightly hard but fun to look through all the different recipes. It was challenging to chop vegetables but became easier as time went on. There was a lot going on trying to prepare the vegetables and rice. She had to be quick to think what the next step was so she didn't burn the vegetables or rice. She loved to set up and decorate her dish. It was a very fun experience because she loves to cook and bake. - Wieser


I learned a lot about flavors and all different kinds of cooking methods. It was great to put something together out of random ingredients and see what I could do! I love how broad the items were so I could get a good challenge. Doing this challenge was a great experience and I hope to cook more often! - Addy


I learned to improvise with the small amount of ingredients. I learned to take the same ingredients and make multiple dishes. To make my own recipe I had to taste while making it and make small adjustments. It was fun to make a pretty plate! I liked using the oregano for not only seasoning in the pasta, to make salad dressing - but then to also garnish the plate. - Juliana


It was very fun to get more experience in the kitchen. it was a very good way to learn more about combining healthy foods together and making them taste wonderful. - Keira


Overall, the experience was interesting. I did not like cutting the onions..... I wouldn't be surprised if they were a little salty from my tears. My carrots were fantastic even though I forgot to peel them! I have never made real beans that required soaking. They were gross! The challenge was really fun and I would like to do it again next year! - Elijah

It was fun to create the recipe and follow it with ingredients that I usually would not pair together. - Kaarina

KCC Portait Format


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.