Columbia Heights kids hit the kitchen in cooking competition

- Shows, like Master Chef Jr., prove you don't have to be an adult to have an appetite for cooking.

Columbia Heights Public Schools had its own kids culinary competition to help elementary school students eat healthier foods.

Nine contestants from three elementary schools tried to cook their way to being district champion.

Eight-year-old Alex Meredith says he thinks a steady diet of cooking shows will help his apple pie oatmeal cookies become the apple of the judges' eyes.

"I like Master Chef Jr. because it helps me prove to Dad that kids can cook in the kitchen just as well as grownups," the third grader said. "I really like food and if I get to make that food, it makes me feel extra special."'

The young chefs have an hour to cook, plate and present their favorite healthy comfort food as part of a national competition to get kids to make healthier food choices and their own meals.

"The students are incredibly gung ho. They get into it. They are excited. I want them to work here when they grow up," Sodexo District General Manager Jeffrey Coleman said.

The District Champion, fifth grader Jade Ramnarine, won with that she called "Mouthwatering Crepes."

"It feels good, but I was kind of nervous at first. I was afraid because my crepes might mess up in the pan because they actually do," Ramnarine said. "I want to be a chef when I grow up because I think we can try new recipes and try a harder challenge."

The winner advances to regionals with a chance to show off their cooking skills at the national competition.

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