A South Carolina elementary school student has one of the best dessert recipes in the country.
Chandler Dorn is the winner of the Sodexo Future Chefs Challenge 2022. Sodexo, the sponsor of the competition, is a food service company that operates kitchens in schools across the country and for the past 11 years has sponsored the competition for students in the schools it serves to to promote cooking among children.
The fifth-grader of Springdale Elementary School recently found out when her win was announced in front of her classmates, her brother and representatives from her school’s cafeteria.
“The lady announced it to the whole class, and at first she made it sound like I lost, but then she said I won,” Chandler told The State. “My friends were screaming so loud their faces turned red.”
Chandler was named the winner of the Lexington 2 cooking competition in March after 16 elementary school finalists prepared their meals for the Sodexo judges at the district’s innovation center. Each dish had a book or movie theme. The 11-year-old won with a dish she called Snow White and the Seven-Layer Trifle, a layered dessert cake with a variety of ingredients.
“It has three components,” Chandler said. “Greek yogurt first, and I added honey, cinnamon, and vanilla to it; then honey-crunchy apples, and cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup, and butter; and then the granola is oats, cinnamon and butter.”
Chandler was surprised to be one of the first contestants to complete her entry into the district competition, using just half an hour to finish their meal. That’s probably because of the amount of home exercises she was given beforehand.
“We ate this several nights in a row,” said Chandler’s mother, Jessica Dorn.
The district level was the last thing Chandler had to personally bake for. In the regional round, the Lexington 2 representative only had to virtually submit a recipe for her trifle, while for the national competition, Sodexo representatives helped her film a video at the Lexington 2 innovation center.
Chandler has long enjoyed baking and cooking at home and is a fan of baking shows. She tried to compete in the future chef challenge as a third-grader but was not selected for the district cooking competition. But she was still shocked to finish first nationally.
“I think my mouth just fell open,” Chandler said.
Chandler will now serve as the Sodexo Ambassador for the next school year and receive a national award. She doesn’t know what that is yet, but after the neighborhood competition she was sent a new set of pots and pans, a FitBit and a cookbook.
Now with newfound confidence, Chandler thinks about other cakes she can make. She already runs her own mini baking business and sells treats to friends on Facebook, and her mom suggested a new use for her now award-winning seven-layer stocking stuffer.
“This could be the first entry in her cookbook,” said Jessica Dorn.