Photo: Boys Club of New York
Team Abbe Junior Chefs Competition

Junior chefs in Flushing were able to flex their culinary skills during a healthy eats competition on Wednesday evening.

The students, who are part of an after-school culinary club known as The Boys’ Club of New York (BCNY), trained once a week for six months for the Junior Battle Chef event. The Abbe Clubhouse team of Queens won the battle for the second time this year.

The group of six diligently cooked up an Asian-inspired Szechuan Shrimp Hot Pot, which ended up wowing the judges. The Abbe team pored over the stove for 45 minutes while chopping garlic, cilantro and scallions. The students ended up combining a healthy mix of protein with gluten-free chocolate.

“I think all children should learn how to cook, what goes into their food, not so much to be a cook, but more so that they know the importance of the ingredients that goes into what they eat,” said Queens chef George McKirdy, who was one of seven judges. “It also gives them an appreciation for eating something fresh cooked as opposed to eating something commercial, something pre-made, you know, fast food.”

The Junior Battle Chef program is a cooking skill-building program to help members gain confidence in the kitchen. The program teaches techniques and instills a broader understanding of food safety, according to the Boys Club of New York.

Team Abbe's winning sichuan shrimp hot pot

“Everybody did their job, everybody did what we were supposed to do,” said David, 12, who was part of the Abbe team. “It was also easier to plate the food because everybody worked together as a team.”

The other two teams, from outside of Queens, presented their creative selections to the judges at the end of the competition. The young students managed to stir up a meal of shrimp jambalaya, chicken saute and a dose of fresh veggies.

Helen Frank, director of communications of BCNY, said the after-school program helps boys who are growing up in single-family homes to teach them different kinds of life skills. The program expanded to the younger teens and boys. According to BCNY, the club helps young boys become “the best men they could be.”

 

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