Young chefs serve up creations in contest at Mass. school

Sixth grader wins with "monkey sandwich" recipe.

March 13—In the Fitchburg (Mass.) High School cafeteria four middle-school girls carefully prepared their culinary concoctions in the hopes of taking top place in last week's national Future Chefs competition sponsored by Sodexo.

Each teamed up with a nutrition services staff member and set to work to woo three judges in several categories, including taste, originality, use of healthful ingredients and plate presentation.

School Superintendent Andre R. Ravenelle, State Sen. Jennifer L. Flanagan and Rep. Stephen L. DiNatale were judges.

Walking into the cafeteria just before judging began was like entering the stage of one of the Food Network's cooking challenges.

Essence K. Perry, 12, a sixth-grader at Fitchburg Arts Academy, won with her “monkey sandwich” recipe, which included yogurt and fruit assembled between two apple slices. She won an iPod Touch and a $15 Apple Tunes gift card.