NEW HARTFORD, NY – The United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area held its Youth Cooking Challenge finals Monday.
The cook-off took place in the test kitchen of the Restaurant Equipment Company in the New Hartford Shopping Center.
The challenge started out with seven young chefs, ages 10 to 14, who teamed up with area cooks to prepare signature dishes.
A tasting panel, with the aid of the general public who voted online for their favorite dishes, determined who would compete in the cook-off.
“The creativity that these kids show in the kitchen is really inspiring,” said United Way CEO Erin Gutierrez Matt.
“Their passion for cooking is something that we hope we can continue to support, and that other kids in the community and their families will be inspired by these young chefs to create family time at meal time.”
The 2 finalists were 12-year-old Andrew Broadbent of Remsen and 10-year-old Elijah Jones of Poland.
Broadbent teamed up with Chef Melinda Thomas of Baggs Square Café, and Jones teamed up with Chef Tim Hardiman of The Tailor & the Cook/Utica Bread to battle it out for top chef.
The two young chefs had one hour to prepare at least two dishes, with four secret ingredients for a panel of three judges.
In the end, it was 10-year-old Elijah Jones emerging as the victor, broken arm and all.
He received a cooking themed prize basket valued at $250.
Runner up, Andrew Broadbent received a cooking themed prize basket valued at $150.
All of the finalists received a cookbook.