GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas–ILTexas hosted its first ever Future Chefs Culinary Challenge at the ILTexas Grand Prairie K-8 campus on Tuesday, April 11. The event was in partnership with Sodexo, a food and facilities management company, which encourages elementary students to learn more about cooking techniques and making nutritious meals. 
The competition took place from 5-8pm in the school cafeteria where parents and spectators watched as the contestants created healthy dishes and snacks using available ingredients with adult assistance. Principal Adrian Apodaca, Assistant Principal Annabelle Villareal, and GPK8 Teacher Jessica Durand served as judges for the competition. 
Aniyah Richardson, a fourth grader at GPK8, won first place at the competition, for her strawberry banana smoothie. She also received a 15-piece cookware set as part of the grand prize.

“Everybody's food tasted really good and I'm just happy that we got to experience this for ILTexas,” said Richardson’s mother, Dejanae Roberson. “I think it's outstanding, the outside resources [ILTexas looks] for to further the children's education or their fun.”
Bennett Simmons, an executive chef at Sodexo, hopes students see the value of creating healthy meals. 
“The benefit for Future Chef's is just allowing kids to broaden their horizon far as thinking about food [and] different ways of doing it,” he said. “The concept this year was based on vegetables and fruit. So it really allowed kids to go deep within home roots because of the homestyle recipes [and] allow them to make some really good recipes just from fruit and vegetables.”
Contestant winners:
1st Place: Aniyah Richardson 
2nd Place: Chandra Reddy
3rd Runner-Up (Tie): Peyton Knox & Madysin Tilotta
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