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Teen chefs compete for culinary honors in Charles City Public Library event

Teen chefs compete for culinary honors in Charles City Public Library event
From left, Jaydann Tobin, Emma Shannon and Raylann Tobin laugh over how heir entry in the Teen Iron Chef competition was coming together Friday afternoon at the Charles City Public Library. Press photo by Bob Steenson
By Bob Steenson, [email protected]

Nineteen teens divided up into six groups to test their culinary skills in an afternoon of “Teen Iron Chef” competition Friday at the Charles City Public Library.

The groups were supplied with tables full of assorted ingredients and challenged to create culinary masterpieces that met the requirements of including chia seeds, being green and including a heart, said Stacey Leerhoff, children’s librarian.

Emily Kromminga and Emilee Bilharz, both career and technical education teachers at Glenwood Community Schools, gave the teen chefs some information on chia seeds such as where they come from and how they are used. Kromminga is Leerhoff’s daughter.

Teen chefs compete for culinary honors in Charles City Public Library event
Charles City Police Officer/Teen Iron Chef judge Duane Ollendick samples one of the teen creations at the competition Friday afternoon at the public library. Press photo by Bob Steenson

The teens had 10 minutes to go on the internet on their phones to look up potential recipes. After the 10 minutes no further phone use was allowed.

In addition to the potential ingredients, which ranged from staples such as flour, oil, butter, sugar and salt, to fruits, vegetables, sauces, crackers and canned foods, the students were given a choice of appliances which included an electric griddle, toaster oven, waffle maker, pizza spinner, George Foreman Grill, microwave and more.

“I told them to create a plate,” Leerhoff said. “They have to plate a pretty plate for the judges. And then I told them to make some for themselves, because I wanted them to try what they were asking other people to eat.”

Part of the goal was sharing and collaborating, she said, as well as washing their own dishes and cleaning up their areas after they were done.

A couple of times there were other challenges, such as at one point where the team with the cleanest station got Leerhoff’s help for 10 minutes, or another challenge that earned the winning team a few more minutes on the internet.

Guest judges for the event were Annette Dean, the library director; Community Resource Officer Duane Ollendick from the Police Department; and Chrstopher Hall, publisher/owner of the Press.

Leerhoff said she was surprised by the number of boys who showed up for the event. Some of the competitors signed up as teams and other teams were put together from those who had signed up individually.

“They’re working well together,” Leerhoff said as the competition time limit wound down.

The winning team consisted of Alexuz Ohlendorf, Emma Schmitt and Piper and Tinley Parker.

Teen chefs compete for culinary honors in Charles City Public Library event
Members of the winning team in the Teen Iron Chef competition Friday at the public library were Piper and Tinley Parker, Emma Schmitt and Alexuz Ohlendorf. Press photo by Bob Steenson
Teen chefs compete for culinary honors in Charles City Public Library event
Emilee Bilharz and Emily Kromminga point out some of the judging criteria and scoring paramaters to the judges for the Teen Iron Cherf Competition Friday afternoon at the Charles City Public Library. Judges are Library Director Annette Dean, Police Community Resource Officer Duane Ollendick and Press publisher Chris Hall. Press photo by Bob Steenson

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