DeKalb County youth chefs compete in salsa competition
Tomatoes? Check. Onions? Check. Cilantro? Check. Chiles? Check. Lime juice? Check. Dancing shoes? Check.
These are just a few items required to attend the 2017 Salsa, Salsa competition hosted by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta at Piedmont Park on July 11. For five children from the East DeKalb Boys & Girls Club, it was a chance to join young chefs from 15 other nearby clubs and compare notes on concocting the perfect salsa.
The event tested participants’ culinary prowess as well as their dance skills, as a professional dance troupe was on-site to provide dancing lessons to all attendees and restaurant professionals judged the salsa competition.
Experts including chefs, restaurant owners and fitness professionals judged the salsa based on taste, aroma, consistency, presentation and originality. The winning salsa will be featured at a local Willy’s restaurant.
According to East DeKalb club employee and head of the club’s Salsa, Salsa team Latisha Jordan, the team has an original, award-winning concoction.
“We have a winner here,” Jordan said. “It’s called ‘Tropical Explosion.’ It’s not your typical salsa. It does have tomatoes, but it also includes pineapples, mangoes and peaches. We present the salsa inside a tropical fruit.”
Jordan said the team dressed tropical and displayed the salsa as if it were on a beach with palm trees to give judges the feeling they were enjoying the cuisine at the beach.
Jordan said the team—made up of approximately 10 students—has been working hard at growing the ingredients, visiting the farmer’s market and mixing fruits and vegetables to complete its submission.
According to Jordan, the club uses a tower garden to grow its ingredients, as the club operates out of the Redan Recreation Center. She said the team brought the garden with them to convey to judges what sort of work went into creating “Tropical Explosion.”
Club director Brandon Riley said the competition is a great way to expose a new hobby or career field to students.
According to event organizers, the Salsa, Salsa competition celebrates healthy diets and staying active. It also highlights cooking and gardening programs available to Boys & Girls Club children throughout the metro Atlanta region.
“Many kids, particularly from low-income neighborhoods, do not have access to healthy food and safe places to play,” said Missy Dugan, president of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. “Programs like this teach our kids that eating right and staying active can be fun. They help kids build healthy habits now we hope will stay with them for a lifetime.”
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