Kelly Persons of NOVA’s Educational Foundation and Chef Mike Herbert of NOVA’s Hospitality Program helped judge a ‘Chopped’ competition at the PHILLIPS Program in Annandale, Va. PHILLIPS Programs for Children and Families is a Fairfax-based nonprofit organization helping youth throughout the region with a variety of behavioral health needs.
The teams consisted of three summer school classes that included students with behavioral health challenges. Modeled after the Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ show, student chefs used their creative cooking skills to compete against other classroom teams. They prepared a three-course meal using ingredients donated by local grocery stores. The meals incorporated canned tuna, canned kidney beans, applesauce, and brown rice. Students came up with creative dishes to utilize these ingredients. All three judges were impressed by the teams and found it difficult to choose a winner. After much deliberation, a winner was chosen and received free lunches from Chipotle and Fire House Subs.
The competition boosted the students’ confidence and helped them learn planning, teamwork, and execution.