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Delicious food knows no age

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Hundreds of young chefs are heating up the kitchen at this year's Junior Iron Chef event in Essex Junction.

Delicious food knows no age.

"We're making black bean veggie burgers with a homemade italian bun and a homemade salsa," said Ally Onowen from the Newlan School.

"We're making an eggplant parm and then baking it with a bunch of local ingredients," said Luke Hunter from the Rockpoint School.

The 7th annual Junior Iron Chef competition is giving young cooks the chance to prove their culinary skills are worth a taste. And, a chance at being served in school cafeterias throughout the state. Every dish made Saturday is a healthy twist on vegetarian ingredients.

"Its just been so exciting, to see these young children so excited about preparing healthy, local grown food, and the end result was very good," said Judge Cheryl Goffus.

The 3 categories the students are judged on include best taste and presentation, team work, and whether the ingredients are local. With 64 teams and 270 chefs, it's about more than just the win.

"It's really fun because I don't only get to cook, I get to bond with my friends," said Fairfax Middle School student Maya Patterson.

"I want to make a delicious dish that people enjoy eating, that's my goal in life," Hunter said.

But for others, it is all about the prize.

"The experience has been great, we've learned a lot about cooking. Obviously we hope to win," said Hunt Middle School student Libby Branch.

One of this year's winners cooked up their 4th win with a cheesy corn grits and poached egg dish.

"We're actually all seniors this year so it's going to be our last year but it was a lot of fun. We're really, really happy," said competitor Courtney Wright.

"I hope they continue their passion for cooking and healthy eating. I hope this just perpetuates that for them and they just continue to make that a part of their behavior throughout life," said Junior Iron Chef Coordinator Amy Gifford.

And these young foodies are doing just that. Creating something good while proving healthy and delicious can indeed go hand in hand.

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