Kids earn kitchen cred with 'plant to plate' cooking camp

Campers compete in cooking competition

STATESVILLE, NC (WBTV) - The Statesville YMCA hosted dozens of kids over the summer with a ten-week course, giving children hands-on experience with food and cooking.

The YMCA Urban Garden program is a "plant to plate" themed camp that was inspired by Chef Michael Spencer and his girlfriend, Melinda Manning. The two planted an urban garden at the YMCA at the beginning of the summer and let kids learn first-hand the importance of growing your own food.

"We want to teach kids how to grow and cook and be more in touch with where their food comes from," said Chef Michael.

The grand finale of the program came Friday morning as kids paired up into two teams and created a pasta dish using fresh vegetables and items they prepared themselves.

Teams "Hungry Butcher" and "Bon Apiteen" served up two delicious courses to a panel of five judges that included local media personalities and the director of the Statesville YMCA, Blake Blakely.

During a fierce hour of competition, campers chopped, diced and minced their fresh items and raced against the clock to serve their food.

While Team Hungry Butcher took home the winning prize, the founders of the program reiterate - no one lost.

"Now they don't have to depend on someone else to cook for them, and they can cook at home and enjoy it," Chef Michael said.

Michael and Melinda also have a program called "Cultivation" that promotes growth through food and wellness.

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