Culinary Student Aired On TV For Creating Own Recipe

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By Caroline Cluiss

The hot studio lights of Fox 4 News brightly reflected off of junior Bernedett Marin’s white chef coat as she spread pinto beans and queso fresco onto a chalupa taco shell. She was careful to smile and keep her eyes focused on the cameras as she demonstrated how to make Taco Pizza, an item on the El Fenix Kids Fit menu.

Marin, a junior Culinary Magnet student, was invited by Medical City dietitian Jill Elliot to appear in a television special promoting the healthy choices on the Kids Fit menu sponsored by Medical City Hospital. Marin accepted the offer, and on January 18, she slipped on her chef coat and headed to the Channel 4 studio. After being primped in hair and makeup, the Fox 4 anchors told Marin that the cameras were rolling.

“At the moment I really didn’t pay attention to anybody outside,” Marin said. “I was paying attention to the camera. Going live, all that pressure was surreal. I was excited and pumped up just to be part of that. I knew that a lot of people were watching me.”


Junior Bernedett Marin works on her recipe for the Medical City Kids Teaching Kids Program.
Photo By Chase Karacostas

Kids Teaching Kids is a program developed by Medical City to instill a positive outlook about healthy eating habits by providing elementary children with healthy snack recipes developed by high school students like Marin. Medical City also worked with several local restaurants to create more nutritious menus in tandem with Medical City’s 21 Day Challenge, designed to help children make healthy eating a habit.

“Our mission is to develop lifelong healthy eating habits in children,” Elliot said. “The issue of obesity in children has tripled in the last 30 years. These kids are being diagnosed with adult-onset diseases, which isn’t setting them up for a healthy life.”

Kids Teaching Kids recruits culinary students from eight high schools around the Dallas area to create simple snacks that meet specific nutritional criteria. Each snack must have two grams of fiber, less than 15 grams of sugar, and be under 200 calories. After being judged by elementary children, the winning snacks are featured in the Kids Teaching Kids cookbook.

“I think it’s more challenging to use healthy food because you have to look at the nutrition facts and the titrations – when you know, you can always use other ingredients to make better food,” Marin said.

Marin knew she needed a snack that was healthy enough for Medical City to endorse, but also tasty and familiar enough for children to enjoy eating. Her recipe was called “Mini Pita Pizza Rockets,” which is pita bread cut in half and stuffed with cheese, spinach, pineapples and tomato sauce and then microwaved for thirty seconds.

“I knew that almost every kid likes pizza,” Marin said. “If they see it on the table of contents, they will immediately go to that page. I was pretty confident of what I did.”

Elliot was also confident in Marin’s dish, but the main reason she chose Marin was from her calm and confident presentation of the snack.

“Bernedett stood out in my mind,” Elliot said. “During the demonstration to the panel of judges, she maintained her composure, did a great job under pressure, and had a great smile.”

Elliot said she thought Marin did a good job, and she hopes that it was a good experience for her.

“When she was on air, she was just herself, with a big smile, flashing her dimples,” Elliot said. “She was relaxed and calmly explaining everything. I just think she did a great job.”

Back at school, Marin and the rest of the Culinary Magnet classes watched a recording of the broadcast. Junior Jalan Veasley said he was proud of how Marin represented the magnet.

“I’m glad she was on TV,” Veasley said. “I really feel like they could have let her speak a little more, but she’s putting Richardson’s name out there, so we look good. She didn’t go up there and embarrass us, she made our program look good.”

Culinary Magnet director Karen Hill said she loved the exposure Marin provided.

“She was very professional, she spoke intelligently about the dish, focusing on the nutritional criteria, and she made it fun during the presentation,” Hill said.