Skip to main content

Youth Cooking Challenge

Congratulations to our Champion, Chef Elijah!

What a finale! It was close but Chef Elijah & Chef Tim created a winning combination with their two dishes last night to claim the title for this year's United Way Youth Cooking Challenge Presented by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield! Chef Andrew & Chef Melinda also did a terrific job as this year's runners-up! We would like to thank ALL of the challengers and local chefs who participated. Each youth chef showed tremendous skill, creativity & health awareness in the kitchen while all local chefs, who donated their time & expertise, provided wonderful mentorships. Every team did a beautiful job! Thank you to our sponsors for this great event: Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Rome Capitol Arts Complex, Restaurant Equipment Equipment Corp, Townsquare Media, Oneida County BOCES Teachers Association, CNY Labor Council, Utica First Insurance Co, Mohawk Valley Community College Professional Association, Hannafords Supermarket, and Berkshire Bank!



This year's contestants were:

12 year old, Andrew Broadbent, of Remsen & Chef Melinda Thomas of Baggs Square Café;
11 year old, Salvatore Drivas, of Frankfort & Chef Michael Latreille of Michael’s Fine Food & Spirits/The Hamilton Inn;
12 year old, Emma Taylor, of Poland & Chef Victor Ramirez of The Madison Bistro;
12 year old, Carmella Garcia, of Sherrill & Chef Diane DeRollo of Roso's Cafe & Catering;
10 year old, Elijah Jones, of Poland & Chef Tim Hardiman of The Tailor & the Cook/Utica Bread;
12 year old, Naomi Smith, of Utica & Chef Chance Bear of The Ridge Tavern;
13 year old, Brooklynne True, of Utica & Chef Brian Donovan of The Balanced Chef;


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 Corporation's test kitchen located at New Hartford Shopping Center and can be viewed LIVE ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE!

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