Orin Smith Elementary School Students Compete in Future Chefs National Challenge Competition


Eight Orin Smith Elementary School students competed in the Future Chefs National Challenge on Thursday. The challenge, which took place after school at Orin Smith, involved each student working with an adult to cook a healthy recipe they submitted prior to entering the competition. 

The first place winner, Tru Hamrick, a fifth grader, made zucchini fries.

“I wanted to enter the competition to help kids have better eating habits in the future,” Tru said. 

When asked by The Chronicle how it felt to win the competition, Tru responded, “It feels incredible.”

Placing second in the competition was Ella Sund, a fourth grader, who made cheesy bacon zucchini boats.

“We grow zucchini in our garden and we’re always thinking of ways to use zucchini,” Ella said. 

In third place was fifth grader Mariah Unzelman, who made broccoli crunch salad. 

Also competing were fifth graders Blake Irving, Tucker Thomas, C.J. Delarosa, Savanha Dehaven and Aspen Hundley.

Blake made fresh corn salad. 

“I like corn and our neighbor, they grow corn and they always give us corn and we use it,” Blake said.

Blake added he really likes cooking and has fun cooking with his mom. 

Tucker made zucchini chocolate chip muffins.

“It’s my favorite,” Tucker said.

C.J. made “gramma’s fruit salad.” C.J. said he entered the competition because he wanted to try something new and had never cooked before.

“My grandma always made (the salad) and I always liked when she made it because it tastes really good,” C.J. said. 

Savanha cooked healthy fruit pizza for her entry.

“It’s my favorite thing to eat at home,” Savanha said, adding she had fun during the competition. 

Aspen made cheese asparagus.

“I wanted to make something new,” Aspen said. 

According to Aspen, she joined the competition to show people who are nervous that it’s not that scary to do something new. 

To enter the event, students had to fill out an application and provide a recipe that matched a theme. This year’s theme was “healthy fruit or vegetable side dish.” 

The eight competitors were selected out of a group of 45 to 50 applicants.

The competition, which Chehalis elementary school students have been participating in for about 10 years, is sponsored by the food services company Sodexo.