Chef Marc Murphy celebrates Sodexo Future Chefs Winner Addie Borgmann

Chef Marc Murphy, Food Network personality and restaurateur, welcomed Sodexo Future Chefs Winner Addie Borgmann and inspired everyone to cook creatively.

Creativity in the kitchen isn’t limited by age, title or status. This year’s Sodexo Future Chefs Winner, Addie Borgmann earned a culinary experience of a lifetime with Chef Marc Murphy. Stepping into the professional kitchen with the celebrated Food Network chef was more than just a learning experience, the two chefs celebrated the idea that food brings families together.

For the past nine years, Sodexo has hosted a Future Chefs Challenge. The contest encourages young chefs to create a recipe that promotes healthy eating habits and good nutrition. The winning recipe is judged on “originality, healthy attributes, ease of preparation, kid-friendliness and plate presentation.”

Addie Borgmann won this year’s challenge with her Skinny Mini Meatball Boats. She describes the dish as “tacos disguised as a meatball.” It is the ultimate family-friendly, fun recipe that the whole family can make and enjoy together.

Part of her prize as Sodexo Future Chefs Winner, Addie was able to spend the day with Chef Marc Murphy. The popular Food Network personality, award winning chef and culinary advocate, Chef Marc has long support various food initiatives like Share Our Strength and No Kid Hungry.

During their day together, Chef Marc and Addie took a few minutes to chat with FoodSided about creativity in the kitchen, encouraging kids to explore food and inspiring others to make food memories around the table.

As we began our conversation, I asked Addie specifically about her winning recipe, Skinny Mini Meatballs. This recipe was built off her family’s love of Taco Tuesday, but made a little less messy and a little healthier.

Skinny Mini Meatball Boats recipe by Addie Borgmann, photo provided by Sodexo

The recipe is rather smart. The meatball incorporates some of the Mexican taco flavors that many people love. Simplified down to a single bite, the dish easy for all ages to make and enjoy. Plus, what parent wouldn’t want to have less clean-up at dinner time?

When she describes her inspiration and the dish, you could tell her enthusiasm for cooking. She enjoys the creative aspect to cooking, the family togetherness of cooking and the joy that cooking can bring.

While she did create a recipe for a competition, her love of cooking goes beyond this single event. Addie said that her mom and grandfather inspire her every day. From when she first started stirring cake batter to huge Thanksgiving celebrations with her grandfather, food and family memories are forever tied together.

In a way, Addie and her experience are a wonderful example for all families. Food is a universal language and can inspire anyone to spend some time together, try new flavors and spark a new conversation.

Addie Borgmann, Sodexo Future Chefs winner, photo provided by Sodexo

Getting kids, and families, inspired by food is a growing concept. From food television shows, like Food Network’s Chopped (where Chef Marc is a judge), often help encourage kids and families to expand their food horizons.

Chef Marc said “kids are getting more education about food.” Whether it is food television or people being more adventurous, kids are watching, learning and joining in the food conversation.

More specifically, he said, “you just inspire them by being yourself” and enjoying what you like to eat. While kids might go through phases, they are impressionable. As long as the parents don’t say, “I don’t like that or yuck that’s gross,” the kids might be more willing to “dig in.”

Chef Marc’s statements hold a lot of truth. As a parent, my kids have gone through phases, have been adventurous and often follow my lead. During our conversation, Chef Marc told a story about his son, which mimicked a similar event in my family.

He said, “I remember going to a restaurant with a bunch of people and (my son) looked at me and asked Daddy can I get two dozen oysters.” Although they had to share the oysters, that willingness to try foods was fostered by his father. “He probably just sees me loving oysters the way I do and at a certain age he’s like well maybe I want to try one of those you’re having all this fun eating those things.”

In our family, we happily share plates around a table. My kids have plucked oysters off my plate, enthusiastically shared a bowl of paella or dared to try some chicken hearts. That sense of adventure, discovery and love of food has created moments that we will forever cherish.

Stated very simply, Chef Marc said, “I think kids are inspired by watching the world around them.” Whether it is cooking at home, eating at a restaurant or having a conservation around the table, food inspiration is all around us.

Building on that idea, Chef Marc encourages families to cook together at home. He recommends getting families involved cooking by starting at the farmer’s market or at the grocery store. Learning where and how that food ends up on the table is essential to promoting healthy eating and a love of food.

Scenes from Sodexo’s Future Chefs NYC at Landmarc on Monday, June 24, 2019 in New York. (Loren Wohl/AP Images for Sodexo)

While the concept is simple, the result is profound. Chef Marc said, cooking as a family produces “two things you’re you know you’re having a relationship and you’re interacting with your child and you’re also inspiring them to be involved in the actual cooking process which makes them more likely to want to eat it.” The process creates a sense of pride, accomplishment and more importantly, creates a lasting family memory.

One of the first dishes that Chef Marc learned to cook was Pasta Carbonara. He taught himself how to cook this recipe because he wanted to recreate the dish that he loved growing up in Italy.

That concept can apply to anyone cooking together. Why shouldn’t a parent show a child how to create Grandma’s iconic Sunday roast recipe or recreate a favorite dish from that trip to South Africa. The conversation surrounding the food is as important as the food on the plate.

As both Addie and Chef Marc agreed, cooking in a kitchen can be and is fun. Granted, not every recipe or dish comes out perfectly, but burnt toast is ok, too.

Even if you mess up the chicken, you can cook another chicken. It isn’t the end of the world. Plus you might have a funny story to share at your next family dinner.

Through this program, Sodexo encourages that creativity in the kitchen, but that willingness to explore food doesn’t have to be limited to just a contest. Any day and every day, the farmers market, local grocery store and even the pantry offer a plethora of culinary options. Everyone just needs to be open to that food discovery.

I would like to thanks Addie Borgmann, Chef Marc Murphy and Sodexo Future Chefs Contest for talking with FoodSided.

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Are your ready for a little culinary creativity? There is a budding chef in everyone, if you are willing to let your sense of culinary adventure loose.

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