BBI students cook up fresh ideas

Amy Xlong (left), host Saale ‘Ilaua and Stephanie Chong with their kale chips and quinoa salad creation. Times photo Wayne Martin

Two Bucklands Beach Intermediate Students have been named as semi-finalists in this year’s Maggi Pop-Up Kitchen Showdown.

Stephanie Chong and Amy Xlong were “very surprised” to discover they’d made the cut with their quinoa salad creation.

The cooking competition is now in its eighth year and encourages healthy cooking and eating habits for 11-16 year olds.

Dishes must include the use of at least 1 Maggi Recipe Base from a select list, be a balanced main course with around half the plate consisting of fibrous vegetables, one quarter being a lean protein source and another quarter made up of a starchy carbohydrate such as potatoes, rice or pasta. The meal must serve a family of four people, cost a maximum of $20 to make and be able to be made and plated in 30 minutes.

Stephanie and Amy were officially announced as the first semi-finalists on TVNZ’s The Adam and Eve Show on Wednesday July 19.

They said it was “amazing” to be surprised with the news at school after their teacher told them Fresh Choice supermarket would be coming to drop off some ingredients for them — but a television camera crew showed up instead.

They were inspired to make their creation by a former teammate’s family recipe for quinoa before the third team member quit the Maggi competition to pursue choir.

Amy Xlong (left), host Saale ‘Ilaua and Stephanie Chong in action. Photo supplied

The recipe started off as a quinoa salad before adding to it with sauce and a garnish of kale chips.

Food Technology teacher Beth McCrystal said it was a “wonderful, amazing” achievement for the girls.

“They had no idea — when the crew turned up and I told them to go and answer the door, they started screaming and shouting and carrying on.”

Mrs McCrystal said the competition is a great way to encourage students to get creative in the kitchen and to try out new ingredients and flavour combinations.

This is the second year in a row BBI has made the semi-finals with Mrs McCrystal at the helm — last year’s team came in first overall — and she said it was “pretty special” to make it this far again.

Six semi-finalists are announced, with three teams making it to the Grand Final in Christchurch where competitors will take to the kitchen in a Masterchef type challenge that’s nerve wracking for both teachers and students alike, said Mrs McCrystal.

“The kids go into the kitchen and have 30 minutes to do it all [while] we go into another room. We don’t get to see anything until the end.”

The winning school is awarded $5000 while each winning student receives $250.