Local high school student Lauren Dyck travelled to the Lower Mainland to take part in the Global News Morning Weekend Teen Chef Challenge on Nov. 24.
She cooked a Persian-style pork curry for the morning hosts, who called it a delicious, flavourful, and healthy dish. Lauren, 16, says it was scary to go on T.V., “but it was also fun.”
She worked with Chef Wayne, who helped each of the finalists in the competition to execute their recipes and cook for the morning hosts, to perfect the dish the day before the contest, and then cooked it again for the hosts on the show. she also sat down for an interview with the hosts as they talked about her curry, and her plans for the future.
Lauren has been cooking for the last eight years — half of her life — and says her favourite thing about it is “trying out different flavours, and just trying lots of cultural foods, especially Indian food and curry.”
Each finalist was given a secret ingredient they were required to use in their dish. Lauren’s was pomegranate.
She says figuring out what to do with the pomegranate was the most difficult part: “We just decided to sprinkle it on top [of the dish], because we weren’t sure what else to do with it.”
Eventually, Lauren says she would like to become a chef, or a nutritionist. he says she would like to open a healthy restaurant, for people who can’t eat things like sugar or dairy. She says she wants to find alternative ways to make food without those ingredients taste good, because people often think they aren’t as tasty.
Lauren first heard about the Teen Chef Challenge through her Food Studies teacher, Janine Bokvist.
Bokvist heard about the competition and immediately thought of Lauren, who she knew was interested in taking part in a cooking contest one day. She gathered all of the relevant information and passed it on to Lauren, telling her to take it home and talk with her parents about it.
They helped her submit her entry video.
Bokvist, who watched Lauren cook on the show, says she thinks Lauren did great. “I knew she would do well because she’s very charismatic and she actually is a very good cook … I think her dish was well-thought out, and I think she incorporated all the flavours really well. And she kind of went outside the comfort zone, trying something a little bit different, and I think she presented herself and the dish very well on T.V.”
In the end, Lauren didn’t win the competition, but by all accounts she cooked a great meal.