Saanich kid cooks up award-winning meal from the freezer and late-season garden

Adelaide Clark loves to cook.

At the age of 10, she has a lifetime of it ahead of her – and she’s already winning awards.

The Frank Hobbs Elementary student was sitting on the couch one day with her mom who spotted the provincial contest online.

“I just said ‘yes’ not knowing how long I had until the deadline,” Adelaide said.

Turns out she had a week to prepare a meal for the 2022 Field to Fork Challenge.

As a regular home chef, she had some tools and ideas in her back pocket.

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“Me and my brother and mom alternate making dinners every week,” she explained. “The rule we have at our house is if you make the dinner, you don’t have to do the dishes that can’t go into the dishwasher and clean the counters.”

Adelaide also isn’t afraid to try things. Though she’s definitely created dishes she won’t return to.

There was a time she found a random spice at the back of the cupboard. That won’t be repeated, but she insists trying new things is a big part of cooking.

She loves making a good roux, which puts homemade macaroni and cheese right up there on her list of favourite things to make.

The Field to Fork Challenge, now in its third year, connects youth with cooking and agriculture. It’s a collaboration between BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation, 4-H BC and the Youth Development Team from the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food. From June to November, kids across the province took on the challenge, submitting B.C.-grown recipes and cooking videos.

Adelaide had a week to prepare.

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“Some people might find it a little tricky but I didn’t find it that tricky,” she said. “At the time, we didn’t know you could just use an already-made recipe like a grandparent’s recipe or something you like to cook.”

She came up with a recipe based on what was in the household freezer and her grandparents’ garden – roasted pork belly, vegetables and pear ginger sauce, absolutely inspired by her grandpa’s recipe.

With the video submitted, they just waited for the results.

Adelaide was actually on a sleepover with her grandparents when she learned of her third-place finish in her age group.

“At the moment, I didn’t really know what to say because it was so last-minute I didn’t think I was going to win in the Top 10 for the whole province,” she said.

A week later, a prize pack arrived that included a branded apron, Coast Salish artist-decorated oven mitts and tea towel along with agriculture and province-themed erasers, notebook and pens.

Oh, and $200. She’s still not sure what to do with that.

“I’m just going to take my time, think about it and then spend it.”

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