Hundreds of people sampled kid crafted salsa at the ninth annual Kids’ Salsa Recipe Competition on the Arcata Plaza on Saturday afternoon. Almost 35 kids teamed up with local chefs to create a unique salsa, which ordained judges as well as public passers-by voted on. Presented by the Humboldt County Office of Education’s (HCOE) Nutrition Programs and ServicesDepartment, the competition is a tasty showcase of the some of the work done by HCOE’s Nutrition Programs and ServicesDepartment .
Linda Prescott, the manager of HCOE’s Nutrition Programs and Services Department, said the event was driven by a desire to craft a simple but creative event which showcased seasonal food while giving the kids a stage to shine. “Salsa was a natural fit,” says Prescott.
“It’s a way for them to show their knowledge and skill with the community.”
Prescott said kids in the competition spend six weeks preparing, whether that is working with chefs, or other members in culinary arts programs.
Kanela Erenberger and Faith Helms were two members of the Pacific Union School team who helped cook their salsa, “The Spice of Pacific Union.”
Erenberger said she started making salsa with her mom a few years ago, and has enjoyed making her own since then. Erenberger said that in preparation for the event, each team member made their own salsa. After tasting what their teammates had come up with, a final recipe was crafted which attempted to use at least one ingredient from each teammate’s salsa recipe. The result was a sweet, but fresh and spicy blend of “quick pickled” cucumber, sugar, white vinegar, water, mango, bell pepper, Roma and Heirloom tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, lime, and salt.
Helms said the best part of the competition was that, “we all made it together and are getting good comments.” Helm said she didn’t care if their team won or lost. “Thanks to everyone who came,” she said. “We worked really hard… .”
Erenberger’s older sister Ieke Erenberger said she was delighted to see what her younger sister was taking part in.
“It’s a really good idea and opportunity for kids to get out, have fun, and be in the community,” she said. “They’re all doing a good job at it.”
Ieke Erenberger said she was impressed by how knowledgeably the participants presented their different salsas. “They know what they’re talking about she said.”
One unique benefit of the event, Ieke Erenberger said, is that it does more than bring the community together.
“It’s a good experience,” she said, “because it with all the kids at different schools, it gives them a chance to come together.”
Tacolicious Award:Team—Lafayette AfterschoolSalsa Name—Double Delicious Tropical SalsaChef—Josh Wiley of Five Eleven
People’s Choice Award:Team—Lafayette AfterschoolSalsa Name—Double Delicious Tropical SalsaChef—Josh Wiley of Five Eleven
Kids’ Choice Award:Team—Blue Lake AfterschoolSalsa Name—Fire Roasted Apple & Tomato SalsaChef—Christina Hellman of Fieldbrook Market & Eatery
Excellence in Creativity Award (2 winners)Team 1—Alice Birney AfterschoolSalsa Name—AB’s Rocking SurpriseChef—Danielle Johns of Eureka City Schools Food Service
Team 2–Trinidad AfterschoolSalsa Name—Mango TangoChef—Alanna Dolan of Larrupin Cafe
Excellence in Nutritional Power Award (2 winners)Team 1–Jacoby Creek SchoolSalsa Name—Fuego Del SolChef— Coco of Pasta Luego
Team 2—Blue Lake AfterschoolSalsa Name—Fire Roasted Apple & Tomato SalsaChef—Christina Hellman of Fieldbrook Market & Eatery
Excellence in Savory Taste Award (2 winners)Team 1–Grant AfterschoolSalsa Name—The Green QueenChef—Veronica Barnard of Pachanga Mexicana
Team 2–Arcata Elementary AfterschoolSalsa Name—Jurassic SauceChef—Neil Kalson of Arcata High Culinary Arts
Excellence in Sweet Taste Award ( 2 winners)Team 1–Lafayette AfterschoolSalsa Name—Double Delicious Tropical SalsaChef—Josh Wiley of Five Eleven
Team 2–Pacific Union SchoolSalsa Name—The Spice of Pacific UnionChef—Monica Luna of Fiesta Grill & Cantina
(Linda Prescott – contributed)
Philip Santos can be reached at 707-441-0506.