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Meet “Future Chef” Drew, A First Grader Who Wowed Judges With His Wild Blueberry Salsa

Kids seem to naturally love the taste of Wild Blueberries, and six-year old Drew Stowell from Connecticut is no exception. He says, “I like the way they taste…they’re sweeter!”

Drew Stowell

We agree, Drew! We were thrilled to learn that he adapted one of our recipes to create his own unique salsa combo for his entry in the Sodexo 2015 Future Chefs: Healthy After-School Snack Challenge.

According to Sodexo, the top five favorite after- school snacks for students are cookies, fruit, chips, pizza and sandwiches. We say kudos to the fruit fans!

The event, now in its fifth year, encourages children to think about making healthy food choices and to get into the kitchen to start learning how to make healthy food at home. This year’s contest included 2,500 students representing approximately 1,000 Sodexo-served elementary schools from 29 states. The students’ recipes were reviewed by a panel of judges and were evaluated based on the originality, presentation, ease of preparation, kid-friendliness, and healthiness of their recipe.

Drew placed 4th in his district competition with “Drew’s Amazing Wild Blueberry Salsa,” which not only featured frozen Wild Blueberries – one of the competition’s bonus ingredients – but also included the clever use of a certain time-saving ingredient. Drew’s mother Allison, a Registered Dietitian, helped us catch up with Drew for an interview and he shares his delicious recipe below. It’s a yummy addition to any after-school snack repertoire that the kids are sure to love. Be sure to try it!

WB: Hi Drew. Congratulations on creating a winning salsa recipe! Tell us, why did you want to enter the contest?

Drew: I thought it would be fun. I’m excited that I won 4th place!

WB: Do you like to cook?

Drew: Yes, it’s fun. I like to mix and measure stuff and do math with it.

WBs: How long have you liked to cook?

Drew: Um…as long as I can remember.

WB: What was the inspiration for your recipe?

Drew: My mom. And I like Wild Blueberries.

WB: What ingredients did you use and why?

Drew: I used lots of Wild Blueberries and added some fresh pineapple too. And I used already prepared pico de gallo so I didn’t have to cut up everything.

WB: Would you enter a cooking contest again?

Drew: Yes. I loved it and I want to do it again next year!

Chef Drew

Drew’s Amazing Wild Blueberry Salsa

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen Wild Blueberries (defrost to soften and create a little juice to help blend the flavors)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced*
  • Small 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (add more to taste)*
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced small*
  • 1/2 cup finely diced pineapple (or less for a less sweet salsa)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon (the “secret” ingredient!)
  • Baked corn chips or baked multi-grain chips.

*Save time (and have much less to dice!) with prepared, fresh Pico de Gallo in place of dicing onions and peppers…some will even have cilantro into it too!

Preparation:

  1. Combine all ingredients, folding in the Wild Blueberries last.
  2. Refrigerate 1 hour or more to blend flavors.**
  3. Serve with baked chips. For a nice presentation, scoop salsa into small soufflé cups and place 2-3 chips in each cup.

**Crush and add a few berries and/or add 1/8-cup Wild Blueberry juice (or use juice from melted frozen berries).

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