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Youth Cooking Challenge


Seven local youths have been selected to compete in United Way's Youth Cooking Challenge Presented by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.
Introducing, in alphabetical order, this year's challengers:
12 year old, Andrew Broadbent, of Remsen;
11 year old, Salvatore Drivas, of Frankfort;
12 year old, Emma Taylor, of Poland;
12 year old, Carmella Garcia, of Sherrill;
10 year old, Elijah Jones, of Poland;
12 year old, Naomi Smith, of Utica;
13 year old, Brooklynne True, of Utica.
Each contestant will be teamed up with a local chef.  Local chefs participating are:
Chance Bear, The Ridge Tavern;
Brian Donovan, The Balanced Chef;
Diane DeRollo, Roso's Cafe & Catering;
Victor Ramirez, The Madison Bistro;
Melinda Thomas, Baggs Square Café.

How the Youth Cooking Challenge Works

Children are paired with a local chef and each team is professionally filmed preparing a “signature” dish. The public will be invited to vote for their favorite team – stay tuned for further details!

After the online voting period, two teams will advance to a “cook-off” finale event scheduled for Monday, April 15th. This event will be held at Restaurant Equipment Equipment Corp. brand-new test kitchen located at 53 New Hartford Shopping Center, New Hartford.

All contestants will receive this year's selected cookbook, the runner-up will receive a cooking themed prize basket valued at $150, and United Way’s Youth Cooking Challenge Presented by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield grand prize winner will receive a cooking themed prize basket valued at $250 donated by Boscov's!

This cooking challenge is a component of United Way of the Valley & Greater Utica Area’s health initiative with a focus on childhood health and wellness. 


Thank you to our sponsors


Excellus BlueCross BlueShield 

Capitol Arts Complex  |  Restaurant Equipment Equipment Corp.  |  Townsquare Media  |  Onedia County BOCES Teachers Association

CNY Labor Council  |  Utica First Insurance Company  |  Mohawk Valley Community College Professional Association  |  Hannaford Supermarkets  |  Berkshire Bank 


Highlights from Last Year:

Check out some of the contestants and highlights from the 1st Annual United Way Youth Cooking Challange!

2018 Contestants Selected for United Way Youth Cooking Challenge

Lite 98.7's YouTube Video Playist of Each Contestant!