Over 22 high school teams from Nevada recently competed in the Teens Cooking With Heart competition, sponsored by the American Heart Association (AHA), at the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas.

The team of Christopher Mayoral-Gutierrez and Thaksin Lalic, both 11th grade students at Las Vegas High School, were awarded 1st place in the Savory category, level 1, for their dish of lamb kebabs with tzatziki sauce, romaine lettuce and red cabbage salad with Greek oil vinaigrette and fresh pita bread. For taking top honors, Mayoral-Gutierrez and Lalic will have their recipe featured in next year’s AHA Flavors of the Heart cookbook.

The Teens Cook With Heart program teaches healthy cooking to culinary students in high schools across Nevada. The contest is designed to increase motivation to explore and create new and inventive ways to prepare healthy dishes. The young chefs are tasked with the assignment of selecting a healthy dish that meets the American Heart Association’s standards: dishes prepared with less salt, less sugar, and less fat. Each recipe is submitted to the AHA’s dietitian for final approval.

Highlights of Mayoral-Gutierrez and Lalic’s preparation included: exhibiting proper knife skills, practicing safe and sanitary food prep, and preparing a savory dish, all to meet the nutritional needs for a healthy heart.

The Culinary Arts program at Las Vegas High School offers four levels of culinary, from level 1 to advanced studies, with the upper levels providing catering for various school functions throughout the year.

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