Tempting dishes from little chefs

Wong Yat-hei

Youngsters prepare healthy and mouthwatering lunchboxes with a budget of HK$20

Wong Yat-hei |

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Yung Hiu-wai's healthy salad, fish and spaghetti won her top prize.
Hong Kong children are often labelled as over-dependent and unable to perform basic tasks such as putting on their clothes or tying their shoelaces, let alone preparing their own food.

But a recent cooking contest for children aged four to 12 showed they are capable of cooking. Last Sunday, 10 little chefs gathered at Hollywood Plaza in Diamond Hill to do battle in the Kids Chef competition. The mall's atrium was transformed into a kitchen for the young chefs to show off their culinary skills.

The contestants' challenge was to prepare a delicious and healthy lunch with a HK$20 budget in 30 minutes.

The top prize was a five-day visit to the prestigious C'est Si Bon cooking school in the United States. The honour went to 12-year-old Yung Hiu-wai, who prepared a colourful and nutritious lunch of salad, spaghetti and fish fillet.

When asked how she came up with the idea for her winning lunchbox, Hiu-wai says: 'I used green, yellow and red peppers in my salad - they are colourful and healthy. Fish is also healthy and nutritious.'

She says she started learning from her domestic helper and her mum when she was nine.

'Once in a while, I cook a few dishes for my family. I also prepare snacks to share with my classmates. I love making desserts, and I'm looking forward to making them during my visit to the US.'

Magician Harry Wong and celebrity chef Ricky Cheung - who judged the contest - awarded points for taste, appearance, nutritional value, hygiene and cooking skills.

Cheung says: 'These children are remarkably creative. There are Chinese, Western and Japanese dishes, and they only had HK$20 to use. That's really impressive. Their cooking skills were good too.'

The runner-up was four-year-old Tsang Tsz-hin, the youngest contestant in the competition. He prepared a Japanese lunchbox of salad, sushi and cold noodles.

Tsz-hin's dream is to become a chef. Tsz-hin's mother says: 'Cooking is his biggest interest and it helps him grow as a person. He has become more independent, and he has learned to work in a systematic way.'

Second runner-up Chung Ching-ting loves helping her mum in the kitchen. She says her elder brother once made her an amazing dinner, which raised her interest in cooking.

'My lunchbox consisted of fried eggs, chicken wings and rice. I often cook chicken wings at home. My favourite food is cheesecake,' Ching-ting says.

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