The First Little Island Chef Junior Competition held this past Thursday proved to be a tasty and flavorful learning experience for children enrolled in the YMCA Cooking Camp for Kids.
Newly appointed YMCA Program Coordinator, Shakeitha Hendfield has created several programs to engage youth in many wholesome athletic and academic disciplines, including swimming, track and field, soccer, basketball, fitness, cooking and more.
“All week long the YMCA Youth Activities Afterschool Program Department conducted a Cooking Camp for Kids with over 15 students between the ages of five to 15 years old enrolled and coordinated by expert Culinary Instructor and YMCA Volunteer Benea Dean.
“The campers from throughout the Grand Bahama community all of whom represent several schools learned various culinary skills and techniques including kitchen safety, healthy food choices, cooking methods and table etiquette and today 10 student competitors will put all the knowledge garnered to the test during the First Annual Little Island Chef Junior Competition.
“Unfortunately only a few of the campers will be competing in the cook-off due to the fact that most traveled to visit family for the Christmas holidays.
“Ms. Dean has ensured that the students will be grouped into teams according to their age and prepare a dish to be judged on presentation, taste, proper use of ingredients, creativity and completing the meal in the allotted timeframe.
“This should prove to be a delicious and fun learning experience and the kids, Ms. Dean and I look forward to it,” said Hendfield.
Cooking Camp for Kids competitors were required to prepare a Panini, which is a toasted Italian sandwich using bread that is cut horizontally and filled with deli ingredients such as cheese, ham, mortadella, salami or other food and oftentimes served warm after having been pressed by a warming grill.
Guest judges of the First Annual Little Island Chef Junior Competition Freeport News’ Managing Editor and General Manager Fredrick Sturrup and Ministry for Grand Bahama Human Resources Administrator Chloe Whymns were excited to have their taste buds tantalized by the young competitors, who were arranged into three teams with each required to used various cooking methods and ingredients to prepare a proper Panini.
Little Island Chefs Team One comprised Teagan Keogh,
ArtSharra Missick and Markaylah Foster; with Team Two made up of Reginald Simmons, Bré Pratt, Dawnnika Missick and Liam Carroll and Team Three with Narae Burnett, Tarranique Rahming and Crystal Green each presenting the judges with two remarkably prepared Panini sandwiches.
Competitors in the First Little Island Chef Junior Competition did their best to present two Paninis worthy of the prize of a month-long membership into the YMCA Little Island Chefs Afterschool Culinary Program, which begins January 2017.
According to Sturrup, “Team One’s design was most attractive and the Panini was excellently done, pan fried to perfection with a delicious crust.
“The sauce was delightfully tasty making them the easy winners.”
Judge Whymns could not have agreed more noting that not only was Team One’s Panini flavorful but the plating design was well executed indeed.
While both judges praised the contestants for their efforts and encouraged them to apply themselves more diligently to cooking fine meals, they also lauded the coordinators for the initiative stating, “The Little Island Chef Junior program at the YMCA is quite innovative and both myself and Ms. Whymns agree that in many institutions home economics is a part of the curriculum, but this little chef event is functioning outside of the box and it will hopefully catch on.
“As all can see the YMCA is doing well and has a great future under the Program Coordinator Ms. Hendfield therefore we congratulate her and the teams.
“We extend deserved praise to Ms. Dean and commend Teams Two and Three for their hard work and tasty Panini even though both suffered a few missteps.
“Team Two receives praise for completing the dish inclusive of the sauce and nabs second place meanwhile, Team Three has a bit more to work on as they did not properly execute their Panini and did not have a sauce to go along with it.
“However, if they continue with this program and learn all they can they will do well once they remain dedicated to excellence and have a thirst for knowledge and good, quality workmanship.”
Published Wednesday, December 28, 2016