VAIL - Family kitchens across the county may soon be invaded by a rare species of chef: fifth graders. The annual "Little Foodies in the Kitchen" Recipe Contest invites all new fifth graders to present their own special homemade dish at a competition on Sept. 27.
Fifth graders at 11 Eagle County elementary schools will have the chance to create their most delicious, nutritious and creative dish at home, and then present them at two judging locations, Brush Creek Elementary in Eagle and June Creek Elementary in Edwards. The deadline for recipe entries is Sept. 21.
Thirty-five winners and finalists from the contest will receive special after-school master cooking classes with top Vail chefs in their professional hotel-restaurant kitchens. Leading the master cooking classes will be Executive Chef Roger King of Restaurant 7One5 at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort, and Executive Chef Douglas Dodd of Tavern on the Square at The Arrabelle at Vail Square.
Now in its third year, the "Little Foodies" Contest is presented by Eagle County Schools, I Openers and Vail Restaurant Month, and is sponsored by Vail Resorts, RockResorts Hospitality, and this year by FamilyFun magazine. The first 100 kids to participate in the contest will receive an official "Little Foodies in the Kitchen" apron, as well as FamilyFun goody bags for their families.
"FamilyFun is thrilled to be supporting the Vail 'Little Foodies in the Kitchen' program," said Ann Hallock, editorial director of FamilyFun, "We know that when families and kids can get hands-on with cooking together, it's not just fun, it's a great way to encourage healthier eating habits and nutrition choices."
Each "Little Foodie" contestant will bring one dish to the judging. Entries will be scored on the following basis: Nutritional Value (6 points), Enthusiasm (6 points), Creativity (4 points) and Knowledge of Recipe (4 points). Recipes should be healthy, easy to prepare, creative and serve at least five people. Recipes may be in any of these categories: Amazing Appetizer, Interesting Entree, Scrumptious Side Dish or Delicious Dessert.
"We are really looking forward to the 'Little Foodies' Contest," Chef King said. "We get see the excitement it brings to the students as they learn about healthy eating and cooking. We hope these experiences carry on for the rest of their lives and are happy to be a part of that."
After the cooking classes, the winners and finalists will also get to enjoy celebratory meal they help create with their families, teachers and friends. The winners' cooking classes and celebration dinners take place Oct. 3.
In addition to the fifth grade contest, Vail Restaurant Month, which runs Sept. 17 - Oct. 14, will feature a variety of "Little Foodies in the Kitchen" cooking classes for kids with top Vail chefs, pizza tossing activities, table etiquette tea parties, and other fun food events open to kids of all grades and ages, in particular during "Family Week," Oct. 1 - 7. For more information about Vail Restaurant Month and the complete calendar, visit www.VailRestaurantMonth.com.
Schools participating in the "Little Foodies" Recipe Contest are Meadow Mountain Elementary, Avon Elementary, June Creek Elementary, Eagle County Charter Academy, Eagle Valley Elementary School, Brush Creek Elementary School, Gypsum Elementary, Red Hill Elementary, Red Sandstone Elementary, Edwards Elementary, and Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy.
Entrants will be asked to prepare a unique dish at home and bring it to the judging contest on Sept. 27, along with a copy of their recipe, typed or clearly written out on 8 1/2-by-11-inch paper.
Sept. 21 is the deadline for entering the "Little Foodies" Recipe Contest. To enter the contest, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 970-477-5561.