VIDEO: Local Top Chef Junior Finalist Visits the Garden at Oracle Park

A young chef with children in a garden

Top Chef Junior Finalist Rahanna Bisseret Martinez helps La Scuola fourth graders with their scavenger hunt

The Healthy Kids in the Bon Appétit Kitchen team had long thought it would be fun to team up with one of the Top Chef Junior young chefs for a class. They were thrilled when season one finalist Rahanna Bisseret Martinez reached out to them via Instagram to suggest that very idea! The 15-year-old resident of Oakland, CA, (and her mother) headed across the Bay Bridge to the Garden in Oracle Park in San Francisco for a one-of-a-kind cooking and educational experience for Bay Area youth.

Garden at Oracle Park Program Manager Sam Wilder, Healthy Kids Program Coordinator Nina Abramson, and Manager of Food Education for Children Hannah Schmunk — all Healthy Kids educators — invited 20 fourth graders from La Scuola International School to hear about Rahanna’s food journey, explore the Garden on a scavenger hunt, and compete in their very own salad-focused cooking challenge.

After Rahanna taught participants how to make three healthy salad dressings she likes — lemon vinaigrette, balsamic vinaigrette, and Greek yogurt dressing — the kids worked in groups to “shop” for ingredients in the garden and then make a salad with one of the three demoed dressings. Rahanna provided positive yet constructive feedback to each group.

The day ended with a Healthy Kids picnic and question and answer session in which the kids quizzed Rahanna all about her journey as a young chef. Many kids were familiar with Rahanna from television and were delighted to spend time with her, learn new skills, and get autographs!

Submitted by Nina Abramson, Healthy Kids Program Coordinator