Winners of the chili cook-off are Auburn High School students, from left, Natalie Ioimo, Natalie Lafferty, Sydney Hickman and Emalini Tukana. RACHEL CIAMPI, Auburn Reporter

Winners of the chili cook-off are Auburn High School students, from left, Natalie Ioimo, Natalie Lafferty, Sydney Hickman and Emalini Tukana. RACHEL CIAMPI, Auburn Reporter

A chili cook-off, with purpose

Auburn High School kid chefs top the cops for best taste | PHOTOS

Auburn High School student chefs challenged the Auburn Police bicycle officers in the inaugural Cops vs. Kids Chili Cook-off this week.

And the kids stirred up a winning recipe, persuading the judges in a contest staged in Cindy Pratt’s two nutrition and wellness classes.

The cook-off was Pratt’s brainchild, a way of having her students see first-responders as people, not just public servants in uniform.

“The officers gladly accepted the challenge,” Pratt said. “This was probably the coolest event I have ever been a part of in my 30 years of teaching. The students showed off the cooking skills they learned throughout the semester. The cops came in with winning recipes and ingredients, but in the long run the kids ruled the competition.”

The cook-off is an extension of the school’s career and technical education class in which students are exposed to careers in law enforcement, firefighting and the military.

“Law enforcement and fire departments are hiring,” Pratt said. “Many students discount going into professions that serve and protect the community because of negative images seen in the media. Through the competition, students were exposed to professionals who wear a uniform, and by interacting with them, they learned that the men and women of law enforcement actually care about the kids of Auburn High School.”

Pratt said there will be a second annual cook-off, but the difficulty will be deciding who will challenge the kids. The judges want to compete in the next cook-off.

Representatives from the Washington State Patrol, Valley Regional Fire Authority, Auburn School District administration and a Marine recruiter served as judges.

Officer Sedillo stirs chili during the cook-off. RACHEL CIAMPI, Auburn Reporter

Officer Sedillo stirs chili during the cook-off. RACHEL CIAMPI, Auburn Reporter

Ezekiel Turner cooks chili in the kitchen. RACHEL CIAMPI, Auburn Reporter

Ezekiel Turner cooks chili in the kitchen. RACHEL CIAMPI, Auburn Reporter

Alex Garcia and Tapiwa Ngungu serve chili to the judges. RACHEL CIAMPI, Auburn Reporter

Alex Garcia and Tapiwa Ngungu serve chili to the judges. RACHEL CIAMPI, Auburn Reporter

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