Crestwood Elementary School fifth grader Morgan Lindenmuth is on her way to the regionals of Sodexo’s Future Chef Competition, thanks to her kitchen know-how.
Lindenmuth competed with nine other students from three elementary schools in the Elyria, OH school district. Each submitted a recipe for a healthy salad, which they then prepared for judges, who looked for the best in the following categories: health conscious foods, kid friendly presentation, fun food and best table presentation.
"I was completely blown away by the enthusiasm the kids had," says Scott Teaman, general manager Sodexo/foodservice director, Elyria City Schools. "You could tell each one of them was in it to win it. Each one was ready for the challenge."
The winning salad of this contest, Lindenmuth’s Thai Papaya and Mango Salad, will be offered next month as a sample district-wide and will be featured as a menu item at Crestwood and also at Elyria High School.
She’ll move on to the regional level where 27 winners will go through a national judging panel, yielding five semifinalists who will each prepare a YouTube video and compete in public voting to determine a winner, who will win a prize packaged valued at $1,000.
"When Morgan won, her parents were so proud. They ran up and gave her a hug," Teaman says. "It was awesome."
If you'd like to see more, Elyria City Schools posted a video  with highlights from the competition.
Here is the winning recipe:
YIELD: 2 servings
6 oz. lime juice
1 oz. Thai fish sauce
2 serrano chiles, seeded and chopped fine
1 oz. brown sugar or raw sugar
1 ½ lbs. mango, medium diced
12 oz. Napa cabbage, shredded
1-2 scallions (optional)
4 Tbsps. chopped peanuts
1. Mix lime juice, fish sauce, scallions and sugar. Stir in until sugar is dissolved. Mix in the mango and papaya.
2. Arrange 1 oz. cabbage on each plate. Top with fruit mixture. Drizzle each portion with 4 tsps. of dressing. Sprinkle each portion with 1 tsp. chopped peanuts.
Recipe: Morgan Lindenmuth Photo: Elyria Schools