There was an incredible excitement and energy in Warkworth on June 20th as Mrs. Anderson’s Grade 8 students took the Abundance Project’s Master Chef Challenge. The Challenge enabled the students to put into practice the kitchen skills and healthy eating learning they had gained from the weekly cooking classes they had taken over the previous 8 months.

Each of the four student teams had to select a recipe for a main course meal and organize themselves to prepare that meal from scratch in the one hour time limit. The event was held in The Gathering Place at St. Paul’s United Church where work space was provided for each team along with an ingredient ‘pantry’ and equipment ‘pantry’. Due to the number of students participating, only two members of each team were allowed access to the kitchen and stoves. Thus most of the prep work was done in the main room, while the ‘kitchen staff’ from each team shared the stoves.

As the teams worked, they were observed by the members of the judging panel, and provided with some minimal assistance by the Abundance Project volunteer team. At the end of the hour preparation period, each team had to present their meal to the judges who then tasted and evaluated the meal and provided verbal comments to the team. As the judges conferred to select the winning team, the room went silent with anticipation and focus and then exploded with cheers as the winning team was announced.

A huge thanks to Julie Wells who volunteered to video the Challenge and then edited it.

The Abundance Project organizers would like to acknowledge the fabulous support that the community and businesses of Warkworth give to make this program happen. Our judges this year were;

  • Elizabeth Aikenhead, Owner, Our Lucky Stars
  • David Crawford, Principal, Percy Centennial Public School
  • Tina Moorey, Owner, On The Side Gourmet
  • Alaria Richie, Pilates and Yoga instructor and student cooking class mentor
  • Pat Stuckless, Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge Health Unit and cooking class mentor

We would also like to thank Our Lucky Stars and The Village Pantry for suppling some of the prizes for this event.

This program would not exist without the generous support of St. Paul’s United Church which provides the facilities, the funding of the Northumberland United Way and the volunteer hours of our cooking class mentors, Elizabeth Heon, Kathleen Powe, Alaria Richie and David Lyon.

Finally, we encourage you to also read the accompanying blog post Reflections on the Grade 8 Cooking Classes by the students and teacher to get another perspective.