Super Chefs win youth cookoff with tabbouleh and Egyptian kosharyAug 07, 2022 08:15PM ● By Bill Hardesty
By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]
The delicious smell of spices filled the Salt Lake Culinary for Culinary Education (SLICE) rooms July 6 at the first-ever Great Summer Cookoff. Four-person teams from various Promise South Salt City programs and the Salt Lake County Youth Services were competitors.
After 90 minutes, the Super Chefs from Promise SSL Utah International were crowned the winner. They prepared tabbouleh, a Middle Eastern salad of finely chopped parsley with tomatoes, mint, onion, bulgur wheat, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and sweet pepper. They also prepared Egypt’s national dish, koshary (also spelled koshari), a mixture of pasta, rice, and brown lentils topped with a zesty tomato sauce with garlic and vinegar and garnished with chickpeas and crispy fried onions.
“We make a real effort to give back to the community,” Deb Holbrook, SLICE executive director, said. “With this competition, youth gain valuable skills for their lives. These skills will improve their quality of life whether or not they continue in the culinary world.”
The food was judged by South Salt Lake PR Coordinator Julie Taylor, filling in for South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood, Isapela Freeman of Sapa restaurant, and a SLICE representative.
The Super Chefs team was unique. The team members are refugees from three countries. There were sisters from Afghanistan, a member from Sudan and another from Burundi. All have been in America for less than a year. They spoke three different languages, but they cooked together using a cooking language of shared words and hand gestures.
“I have no clue how they do it,” Alya Al Mashhadani, a paraprofessional at the school and adult leader, said.
Six teams competed: Promise SSL – Granite Park (4 Pals); Promise SSL – Historic Scott School (Let’s Roll Dumplings); Salt Lake Youth Services (Baconaters); Promise SSL – Utah International (Super Chefs); Promise SSL – Cottonwood (Dali Chefs); and Promise SSL – Hser Ner Moo and Kearns St. Ann (Tasty).
Team members range from 13 to 17 years old. Each team had an adult leader ready to help with safety issues. SLICE chefs also helped the teams.
Teams choose their presentations which often represented team members' culture. They ranged from Hawaiian surf ‘n’ turf, green beans and rice (Baconaters) to Chinese cream cheese wontons and fan ken chao dan (Let’s Roll Dumplings) to Indian panipuri and Tibetan vegetable thukpa (Dali Chefs) to Peruvian ceviche and street tacos (4 Pals) to Mexican fresas con crema (Tasty).
The top four teams were honored, but every competitor received a gift for participating. The Super Chefs winning team received individual trophies, gift baskets and a small kitchen appliance.
The Salt Lake Institute for Culinary Education (SLICE) is located at 2233 S. 300 East in South Salt Lake City. SLICE is the only culinary school in Utah approved by the American Culinary Federation for its 12-week professional program for those interested in becoming a chef or baker.
SLICE also offers a variety of cooking and baking classes to the general public, online cooking classes and private events, which feature team-building cooking competitions. In-person courses sell out quickly. Check their website Sliceutah.com for a calendar and to register.