Kids as chefs show food savvy in Kitchen 242 competition


– Photos by Cynthia Price

By Cynthia Price

They may be messy, loud, and sometimes giggly, but when the kid chefs who showed up for last Saturday’s competition at Kitchen 242 got down to business, the result was some good food.

This was the fourth C.O.O.K. Kids Culinary Competition held at the food business incubator/cooking class space at the Muskegon Farmers’ Market.

“Chef Jack” Page, who came up with the idea originally, says he wanted originally to call it Kids’ Iron Chef, “but that was going to be a real legal issue.”

The 7-to-13-year-old chefs pair up with a working chef in groups of four, five maximum, and each group creates a masterpiece of a themed meal – this time the theme was apples. They are given money to go through the indoor winter farmers market and buy ingredients.

The contest was done under the watchful eye of Kitchen 242 Manager Renae Hesselink, who seems to be everywhere in the community and who says they will probably have another kids event this year. Judges were Chef Wanda Liddell, Dominion Kingdom Catering; Ken McCallum, Fresco Mercato; and Dawn VanBlargan of Just Klassics Roadside Deli.

Chef Jeremy Sowa’s team, The Apple of Your Eye, took the lead honors. Other chefs were Page himself and Megan Tallent. Judges were Comments Page, “Some parents drove their child all the way over from Clarkston [in Oakland County near Detroit]. He came in a little timid, but it was wonderful to watch him blossom and come out of his shell. His parents came up to me and said he watches all the food shows. But, it was just really astounding to me that people were coming from the other side of the state for this!”


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