May 09, 2013Imran Mihas had just returned to homeroom when he heard the news on the school PA system.
The recipient of 48 percent of the 26,539 total votes, Mihas was named Sodexo's National Future Chef champion for his Tortilla Cup Salad entry, a combination of garbanzo beans, black beans, cucumber, mango, tomato, corn, cilantro and grilled chicken.
"Oh, yes, I'm very excited," said Mihas, a fourth grader at Maire Elementary School.
The salad is a family-inspired recipe to which he added the tortilla cup and grilled chicken, as his mom's original recipe was for vegetarians.
"I thought it would be more — I thought kids would like it more by adding the tortilla cup and grilled chicken," Mihas said.
Mihas bested four others in the final round of Sodexo's third annual competition, which attempts to get students actively involved in good nutrition. Aside from Mihas in Michigan, other finalists were from Rhode Island, Colorado, Illinois and Washington.
In all, more than 1,750 students from 940 schools around the country were selected from more than 5,000 recipes submitted at 110 local events.
From there, a panel of Sodexo chefs narrowed the field to 27 regional winners, while another panel dwindled further the number to five finalists.
Voting concluded April 30.
"I'm just proud at all my staff and friends," Mihas said.