Vail kids get cookin’ at second annual Little Foodies contest |

Vail kids get cookin’ at second annual Little Foodies contest

Daily staff report
VAIL CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily/Courtesy of Vail Restaurant M In conjunction with Vail Restaurant Month, the second annual "Little Foodies in the Kitchen" program allows Vail area kids the thrill of working with professional chefs in the kitchens of Vail's top restaurants.

VAIL – This month, all incoming fifth graders at 10 Eagle County elementary schools have a chance to go “toque to toque,” as they show off their most delicious, nutritious recipes at the second annual “Little Foodies in the Kitchen” Contest, Sept. 29.

Following the district-wide recipe judging event, 45 winners and top contestants will win a special after-school master cooking class on Oct. 5 with some of Vail’s top chefs in professional kitchens at the Vail Marriott, Arrabelle and Lodge at Vail. After class, kids get to sit down for dinner with their families and enjoy the meal they have helped create.

Kids who aren’t in 5th grade also get their shot at culinary stardom during Vail Restaurant Month, Sept. 1 -Oct. 16. Information about “Little Foodie” parties, cooking classes and events open to kids of all grades and ages can be found at

Following the first Vail area program last fall, the “Little Foodies in the Kitchen” contest is once again presented by Eagle County Schools, I Openers and Vail Restaurant Month, and is sponsored by Vail Resorts and RockResorts Hospitality.

“Vail Resorts Hospitality is extremely excited to participate in Vail Restaurant Month, including our participation in the Little Foodies in the Kitchen program with the Eagle County School District,” said Pete Hayda, regional director of sales and marketing for Rock Resorts, “and due to the success and the overwhelming amount of positive responses we got from last year’s participants and parents, I am confident that this year’s event will be another huge success.”

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Deadline for Little Foodies in the Kitchen recipe contest entries is Sept. 23, and the official recipe judging on Sept. 29 will be held at June Creek in Edwards and Brush Creek in Eagle. A celebrity panel of judges will include local star chefs, teachers and school representatives, a TV8 host, and writers for the Vail Daily.

The official “Little Foodies” recipe book from last year’s contest is also now available for free download on the “Exclusive Offers” page on This year’s recipe entries will be judged on the following: Nutritional Value (6 points), Taste (6 points), Creativity (4 points) and Visual Appeal (4 points). Recipes should be easy to prepare, creative and serve at least 4 to 6 people. Recipes may be in any of these categories: Amazing Appetizer, Interesting Entree, Scrumptious Side Dish or Delicious Dessert.

“As a nutritious diet is an important part of maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle, Eagle County Schools is pleased to support Vail Restaurant Month and the ‘Little Foodies in the Kitchen’ contest. What a great way to bring our community together,” said Heather Eberts, executive director of curriculum for schools.

Chefs hosting the winners’ after school cooking program are Executive Chef Roger King of the First Chair Cafe at the Vail Marriott, Food and Beverage Director Paul Wade of Cucina Rustica at the Lodge at Vail, and Executive Chef Douglas Dodd of the Arrabelle.

“As a parent involved in improving the school lunch program, I’m thrilled about giving our students the opportunity to mesh healthy eating, food preparation and exposure to the high caliber restaurants we have in this valley,” enthuses “Little Foodies” parent coordinator Tara van Dernoot. “The school district is still in the process of revamping the school lunch and snack programs, so the timing for this year’s event couldn’t be better.”

“Little Foodies in the Kitchen” is a signature national program created and owned by I Openers, with the mission to bring fun, healthy eating habits and the adventure of cooking to kids everywhere.

Schools participating in the “Little Foodies” contest program are Meadow Mountain, Avon, Brush Creek, Gypsum, June Creek, Eagle Valley, Red Hill, Red Sandstone, and Edwards Elementary Schools and Eagle County Charter Academy.

To enter the recipe contest or for additional information, contact Sydney Hennis by email at or by phone at 970-479-6995. All information needed to participate is also available on the Eagle County Schools website, in the “News” calendar.

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