CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Some students out in Beeville got quite the culinary experience on Saturday, taking part in the Uncommon Junior Chef Competition.
“These young guys and girls, man,” Gene McElveen, a local farmer, said. “Young chefs in the making. Gordan Ramsey, you know, bring it.”
On Saturday, Bee County kids from kindergarten to tenth grade chopped, stirred, and sizzled their way to a culinary paradise.
“You can smell all kinds of flavors, all kinds of spices,” McElveen said.
“When I was their age, I was not cooking like this,” organizer Dhaval Patel said. “I didn’t know asparagus from a leak from Italian sausage versus beef.”
Placed into teams, competitors were given a box full of mystery ingredients and are given a set time to make a meal of their choice.
“Getting to be able to cook and chop up stuff and make meat and stuff,” participant Gianna Benavidez said.
Patel, the owner of The Coffee Barrel, started the new program as a way to teach kids about sustainability.
“It’s about helping the environment,” Patel said. “Think about clean energy. It’s about how you make an impact on healthcare, it brings communities together.”
Most of the ingredients are from local growers like McElveen
“Our new generation of people learn how to grow, learn what to do when it’s ready and how to cook and just being students of the land,” McElveen said.
Alongside McElveen, KRIS 6 reporter Corderro McMurry judged the competition on taste, appearance and creativity.
“It was exciting and it was fun and I was happy to meet a lot of new people and make friends,” Benavidez said.
Some of the prizes included being guest judges at Dr. Patel’s next uncommon table, a special session with Atomic Baker or a private dinner.
“If we’re not doing this through fun and exciting ways, kids don’t realize it and their missing a great opportunity for the next generation and their kids,” Patel said.