As every parent who has ever bargained with a child to make him or her finish up those vegetables knows, convincing kids to take interest in a variety of foods can be a challenge. To get kids excited and critical about what they eat though (as well as to receive first hand feedback from the small diners themselves), executive chef David Noto of Omni Bedford Springs Resort & Spa in Bedford, Pennsylvania, recently partnered with a local elementary school to host the third annual Mini Iron Chef Competition.
The event included cooking lessons that taught the kids how to develop recipes, cook, and assemble dishes based upon a given basket of ingredients. After their tutorial, the kids went to work to create their own dishes that were subsequently judged by a panel. The winning dish was a Chicken Quesadilla Galette created by team Lightening Chefs (pictured above).
According to the resort, the event was another great success and continues to be a coveted experience for qualifying students; in addition to an interest in the culinary arts, each student must have good grades in order to leave school and participate. According to the hotel's cirector of operations, Adrian Gonzalez, the event is also helpful for the development of their Kid’s Menu. “Kid’s Menus have always been a big challenge for the hospitality industry, with parts asking for healthy foods, while kids want something tasty and fun,” said Gonzalez. “What better way to design kid’s menus than having kids telling us what they want, by ‘cooking’ their own food based on a secret basket of fun and healthy ingredients?”