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Kids cooking contest held by OC restaurateur

April 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Many of us are fascinated with cooking shows, even if we aren't that good at making a meal. So one local chef thought she'd get kids interested in the kitchen as a way for them to learn culinary lessons early on.

"We're doing something very special, which is very close to my heart, is teaching kids how to cook," said Zov Karamardian, owner of Zov's Bistro. "This is something I've been wanting to do for a long time in our restaurant."

Karamardian owns a handful of Orange Country restaurants. She used to teach cooking at Valley High School and loved how much her kid responded to the process.

"So I decided to start with the younger ones this time," said Karamardian.

She put the word out to the community for kids to send her a YouTube video of them cooking for a contest.

More than 30 videos were reviewed and judged by community chefs. Six top winners spent the morning with Karamardian, cooking breakfast to be served to their parents.

"You have to remember eggs are the most nutritious thing you can have. It has a lot of protein in there. It keeps you full for a long time," said Karamardian.

The kids made scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon and squeezed orange juice.

We don't want kids to play with their food at the table, but in the kitchen is another story. Mix their creativity and curiosity with a bit of nutrition, since knowledge is power, and what you've got is a recipe for success.

"Well, because they feel and they touch and they see what they're eating -- I mean, it's right there in front of them," said Karamardian. "What that does is it expands their horizon, almost gets inspiration from it and they start experimenting more with other foods."

C.J. Luis, a St. Hedwig School student, took top prize, a $1,000 savings bond. He's been cooking since age 5 when his grandparents owned the Anaheim White House Restaurant. His toughest challenge so far? Working a big fund-raiser.

"I cooked a filet mignon and that's probably the hardest thing I made because there was like 200 pieces of that and we had to cook them and everything," said Luis.

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