Outfitted in tall white chef hats and green aprons, the Food Fighters faced off against the Blazing Hot Chili Peppers in a cooking showdown Monday at Killybrooke Elementary in Costa Mesa.
Sixteen students in grades 4 to 8 participated in the Killybrooke Iron Chef competition, a pilot event sponsored by the school, the Network for a Healthy California and the Newport-Mesa Unified School District's Food Services Department.
Students had 45 minutes to create a tasty, healthy dish using a secret ingredient: vegetables.
The competition started as participants rushed to the front of the stage to gather vegetables and other basic ingredients. The kids heaped onions, peppers, tomatoes, zucchinis, avocados, scallions and cilantro onto plates before rushing back to work stations to peel, chop, dice, sauté and bake.
Soon, the smell of quesadillas and pizza filled the air.
Two large-screen TVs captured the action going on behind the tables and projected them to the students, who sat mesmerized and tantalized by the quick action and savory smells.