Cooks in the Kitchen at Corinth Elementary School

Cooks in the Kitchen at Corinth Elementary School

by Susan Neuhalfen

There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen at Corinth Elementary School.

That’s because the Kid 2 Chef program at CE, led by Cindy Medlicott and Anne Waidelich
which started last spring, has become one of the most popular afterschool programs offered at Corinth Elementary.

“Altogether we have about 80 kids participating from 2-5th grade,” said Cindy. “We tried to limit it but it kind of exploded on us.”

This cooking class is just one of a number of 4-H programs available in the Corinth Elementary afterschool program headed up by Michelle Richey. It is definitely one of the most popular, though.
“I spend most afternoons going from afterschool class to class,” said Michelle. “These kids are
really focused on learning and working together.”

In order to keep the large number of kids who wanted to participate in the cooking classes, they divided the 8-week courses by class, starting with the second graders in the fall and ending with the 4-5th graders in the spring. They start with a lesson in the classroom about nutrition or kitchen safety and then move to the cafeteria where they work with hotplates and sometimes the school’s oven.

Now they are competing against other 4-H cooking teams, demonstrating teamwork as well as learning public speaking, as each member is required to speak in front of a panel of judges as part of the presentation.

Recently four teams from CE placed in the top 5 in the Country Food Challenge hosted by Denton County 4-H at Krum High School in December. The challenge was open to any 4-H individuals or teams in the district in Denton County.

Their challenge was the make a unique dish using a bag of ingredients provided with only 40 minutes to prep, prepare and clean up. The ingredients remained a mystery until the challenge began. That means that all four students on the team had to decide on the dish, the presentation, the duties of each member and clean up, all in the course of 40 minutes.

“We gave them a box full of ingredients so they could practice each week,” said Anne. “They worked well together in their teams.”

Each team was graded on a rubric so all of the kids had to participate. In addition to preparing and presenting the dish, they spoke about the process they went through to make the dish as well as the nutritional value, the safety and cleanliness of the kitchen and a price analysis per serving.

“They were all working toward one similar goal and they were all on task the whole time,” said Cindy. “None of them were afraid to present to judges.”

The top three teams will advance to the District Food Challenge on March 23 at the Fair Park in Dallas. Those teams are: The Mini Chefs, The CE Spice Girls, The Texas Jr. Cooks, all from
Corinth Elementary.

“They were super excited about the competition they were all proud of their dishes,” said Anne. “They were so confident at this last competition, I know they will do well in March.”

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