Hockinson student competes as Future Chef

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter

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Watch Makayla Hildebrand make Eggs in a Nest.

Read the finalists' recipes.

Vote for Makayla through Monday.

photo Makayla Hildebrand, 12, is one of five finalists in the national Sodexo Future Chefs: Healthy Breakfast Challenge. Her supporters can vote online through Monday to help her win.

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Like many 12-year-olds, Makayla Hildebrand does not like green peppers or onions. So when she was perfecting a recipe for a healthy-cooking contest, she replaced the icky veggies with ones she likes: tomatoes and spinach.

That substitution paid off. Makayla, a sixth-grader at Hockinson Middle School, is one of five finalists in Sodexo’s national Future Chefs: Healthy Breakfast Challenge. Each of the finalists has posted a video on YouTube. The student chef with the most votes by Monday wins.

The contest’s premise is to encourage kids to learn about nutrition by creating healthful breakfast foods.

Makayla and her mom found a recipe for eggs in a nest, and she substituted ingredients with more healthful alternatives: egg whites, turkey sausage and low-fat milk and cheese.

After her recipe was tweaked, she was filmed making the dish in Battle Ground High School’s home economics kitchen.

Before the cameras rolled, Makayla practiced the recipe at home two or three times and once again in the school kitchen.

“The first time I made the hash browns, they came out like a blob,” she said. “I didn’t read the directions right.”

Her advice to novice cooks: “Read the recipe. Use healthy ingredients. Find things you like to eat and experiment.”

Makayla has cooked with her mom for as long as she can remember. She and her younger siblings, Maleah, 10; Maranda, 8 and Trevor, 6, often make Saturday morning breakfast for their parents, Matt and Tiffany Hildebrand.

Makayla learned she had won the regional competition when it was announced to the entire sixth grade at lunch. “About 100 kids were cheering. I was kind of excited and embarrassed at the same time,” she said.

Susan Parrish: 360-735-4530; http://twitter.com/col_hoods; susan.parrish@columbian.com.