Over 100 PTA families recently converged at the New York Public Library to celebrate the launch of the Uncle Ben’s® 2013 Ben’s Beginners™ Cooking Contest by setting a world record for the most kids cooking with their parents at one time. Famed New York chef and restaurateur, Marcus Samuelsson, joined Uncle Ben’s® Brand to kick off the second annual cooking contest, a movement designed to inspire healthy lifelong eating habits by encouraging parents and kids to cook together.
“The Uncle Ben’s® brand is focused on helping families use time spent cooking together to create healthy relationships with food and each other and I think that is so important,” said Samuelsson. “So much of my life is in the kitchen, and it is an honor to be a part of this program and help draw children and families into my favorite room of the house, to discover healthy eating.”
Special guest, Sydney Fialkow, 2012 Ben’s Beginners winner, spoke to the families about her experience with the contest. Fialkow was selected last year from a field of more than 700 contestants. In addition to her family’s cash prize, Fialkow also received a cafeteria makeover for her school, the Epstein School in Atlanta, Ga. “Be yourself and just have fun,” was Fialkow’s advice to the kids.
The PTA families were asked to prepare kid-friendly, rice-based dishes from around the world. The excitement in the room was contagious as the families each received their passport indicating the country and recipe they were assigned. Each “country” then visited the farmer’s market tables to select the ingredients needed to prepare their recipes, such as “Chocolate Rice Pudding from Down Under,” (Australia) and “Fiesta Chicken Quesadilla” (Mexico).
RecordSetter officiated the event, while Chef Samuelsson offered cooking tips and aided the families in the preparation of their recipes. The room erupted in applause as the official announcement was made that the families had set the world record! Each family was presented with an official RecordSetter patch to recognize their accomplishment.
“One of the best ways to learn about healthy eating is to step into the kitchen and just get cooking,” said Tim Snyder, vice president of marketing, Mars Food US, the parent company of the Uncle Ben’s® Brand. “We hope Ben’s Beginners™ will inspire families to do just that.”
The Ben’s Beginners™ Cooking Contest is asking families with children in grades K-8 to submit videos of themselves preparing a rice-based dish and discussing their experience cooking together, for the chance to win $15,000 cash, an appearance on the Rachael Ray Show and a $30,000 cafeteria makeover for their child’s school. Submissions will be accepted at www.unclebens.com through October 6, 2013.
In addition to the grand prize winner, two finalists will receive $5,000 cash, an appearance on the “Rachael Ray Show” and a $10,000 cafeteria makeover for their schools. Additionally, the three schools with the most video submissions in their school size category will also receive $30,000 cafeteria makeovers. More information on the contest can be found at www.unclebens.com.