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Little chefs serve up tasty, simple dishes with lots of carrots

January 30, 2001|By DORA DEPAOLI, Staff Writer

HOLTVILLE — Judges tasted their way through 28 entries at Monday night's Carrot Festival cooking contests for elementary, middle school and high school students.

The Little Chefs' division for elementary students, with 17 entries, received commendations from Margie Stacey, one of the contest chairmen.

"The quality and variety is very good," Stacey said.

Rosemarie Von Flue, a veteran cooking contest judge, said Little Chefs' recipes should "taste good, be easy to make and something that kids will make and eat."

Von Flue encouraged cooks to always try to use fresh ingredients.

The Little Chef winners are all students at Finley Elementary School in Holtville. Fourth-grader Johanna Hilfiker, 10, won with "Carrot/Chicken Chalupas," a main dish casserole. Johanna said she tried the dish with her family several times before cooking it for the contest. The recipe came from her sister-in-law, Brandi Hilfiker.

Bethany Lehman, in the third grade, fixed "Carrot Ice Cream Pie." The tasty dessert calls for shredded carrots, frozen orange juice and vanilla ice cream.


Her brother, Billy Lehman, 11, took third place with "Carrot Clam Chowder."

Honorable mention was awarded to Kara Thompson of El Centro, with "Kara's Carrot Crunch Pizza."

"Carrot Bread Men" won the middle school division. Allison Wray, 12, got the recipe off the Internet, where it was called "Carrot Cookie Bars." Allison, who is in the seventh grade at Holtville Middle School, made it for the first time for the contest.

Christopher Iten, 12, also a seventh-grader at Holtville Middle School, fixed "Carrot Ring With Peas" to pick up second place. The recipe called for 2 pounds of carrots, always a plus for the judges. Third place was awarded to Kimberly Schultz, 11, a sixth-grader at Holtville Middle School, for "Royal Carrot Fudge." The golden treats called for butterscotch morsels, marshmallow cream and pecan pieces in addition to carrots. Honorable mention was given to Joel Hilfiker, 14, who is in the eighth grade at Holtville Middle School. He fixed hearty "Carrot Fiesta Bake" which included all the things growing boys like: chili beans, tortillas, hamburger, cheese and carrots.

Experienced contest entrant Theresa Short, 15, a Holtville High School sophomore, caught the judges taste buds with her "Frosted Fruit and Carrot Treat," to win the high school division. The refreshing frozen dessert called for cream cheese, crushed pineapple, banana, frozen whipped topping and carrots. She adapted the recipe from a "Pampered Chef" booklet.

Coming in second with "Cheesy Carrot Artichoke Triangles" was her sister, Sarah Short, 14. A Holtville High freshman, she is another contest veteran who is usually accompanied by her mother, Angela Marlowe, and great-grandmother, Clara Gutierrez. Christina Croak, 16, a junior at Holtville High, placed third with "Carrot Casserole." The original recipe from her mother, Lynn Croak, called for sweet potatoes. Lynn substituted carrots in her dish.

Winners received Carrot Festival carnival tickets, ribbons, plaques and cash prizes. Carrot Festival Queen Keri Kilgore and Carrot Festival Princess Tassa Allegranza were present to give out the prizes. While waiting for the judges to tally the points, Nils Nilson and his daughter, Katrina, gave a fruit and vegetable carving demonstration.

Judges for the evening contests in addition to Von Flue were Matt Turner, Betty Acosta, Mary Muller, John A. Moreno and Jessica Diez, last year's Carrot Festival queen. The large audience eagerly awaited the final judging so the tasting could begin.

The three contests were sponsored by Kern Ridge Growers from Bakersfield and Holtville. Chairing the contest are Soroptimist Club members Sylvia Nelson, Joan Jencks and Margie Stacey.

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