For National Boys & Girls Club Week, high school club members competed in a “Chopped” contest Wednesday patterned after the Food Network show of the same name.
Four teams of teens and club staff were tasked with creating a meal in 1½ hours using three secret ingredients that were not revealed to them until seconds before the competition began.
“The three items — ground beef, Ramen and apples — had to be incorporated using condiments, vegetables and other items provided by the club,” said Amber Allison, unit director for the Boys & Girls Club of Central Texas.
Three judges tasted the final creations. When the plates were cleared, team The Master Chef with Steven Lewis, Naomi Hawkins, Keiona McKoy and Ciera Mundy came out on top with their Rainforest Meatballs in a special sauce over seasoned Ramen pasta. Lemon-peppered asparagus and garlic bread accompanied the entree.
“The main ingredients in the meatballs are ground beef, apples, bacon, onions,” McKoy said.
Judge Juwan Chestnut, a self-proclaimed connoisseur of fine dining, said he liked how the team incorporated apples into the meatballs.
Judge Marlo Saunders, a 6-foot-5 Killeen High School graduate and professional basketball player with the American Basketball Association, agreed with Chestnut and raved about the pasta.
“I am not a big fan of the fresh tomatoes within the Ramen but you did a great job,” he said. “The flavors came together for me.”
Other teams created a taco entrée, spicy spaghetti and an Italian-inspired dish.
The Boys & Girls Club will treat the winning team to a meal at a local restaurant, Allison said.
She called the contest a success and plans to have more “Chopped” competitions in the future.
“We did the best we could with the available funds to make this a great experience for the students,” she said. “This is the first competition we have ever done and hope to expand it during the summer break.”