Local Girl Enters Cooking Contest


Picking out and prepping ingredients, wrapping and rolling, packing her siblings' school lunches, all at just 11 years old.

"My Dad's a big cook, so I've been in the kitchen for as long as I can remember," said Jhera Darefsky, Uncle Ben's Beginners Contestant .

"Jhera has been our sous chef for at least five or six years now," said Rae Darefsky, Jhera's Mom.

So when the Darefsky's heard about a national cooking contest for kids, they knew Jhera would have a creative recipe in mind. And she did- a dish that's enjoyed by friends at her lunch table.

"Usually I bring a few spring rolls, and I only have one or two left for me," said Jhera.

Jhera and her mom started making spring rolls to take to school, when they removed gluten from her diet because of health problems. The only rule for recipes submitted to the Uncle Ben's Beginners contest is that they use rice, which is a staple in gluten free food.

"We were trying to figure out creative ways to make lunches for her. During the summer it's quite easy. To make things fresh and have her eat them right then, but it's really not easy to pack a gluten-free lunch," said Rae.

The portable and healthy recipe could help Jhera and her school Lansing Charter Academy win big, if she gets enough votes. Her recipe with demo video is one of about 650 submitted to the contest. The grand prize winner gets $10,000 for themself and $30,000 for their school for a cafeteria makeover, something Jhera says her school would benefit greatly from.

"I think with more equipment we could make more food, we could make food that was better, we could make food that more students would eat," said Jhera.

A big chunk of Jhera's score will be based on the number of votes she receives between now and October 27th. We've made it easy for you to vote for Jhera--just click on the hot button on wilx.com. The representatives for Lansing Charter Academy told me they're very proud of Jhera, and the winnings would be put to good use in their cafeteria.


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