Inspiring families to cook and eat together is worth thousands of dollars in cash prizes. In fact, a 10-year old fourth-grade girl has just been awarded a $20,000 cash prize for cooking rice. And her elementary school also gets a $50,000 cafeteria makover because the child inspired families to cook and eat together.
Sydney Fialkow, 10, and her mother Stacy, 41, of Atlanta were named the grand prize winners of the Rancho Dominguez, Calif. Ben’s Beginners™ Cooking Contest. The playful nationwide competition, designed to empower and encourage parents to connect with their kids one meal at a time, sponsored by the UNCLE BEN’S® Brand, the number-one selling brand of rice in the United States, drew kids from across the country to compete in nutrition cooking concoctions.
Contestants had to cook a kid-friendly rice dish
Sydney Fialkow was selected from a field of more than 700 contestants (ages 5-12) who video recorded themselves preparing a kid-friendly rice dish and discussing the experience of cooking with their parents. The contestants were narrowed to four finalists, from which the Fialkows were selected as the grand prize winners.
The Fialkow family has won a $20,000 cash prize and a $50,000 cafeteria makeover for the Epstein School, located in Sandy Springs, Ga., where Sydney attends as a fourth grade student. “The goal of Ben’s Beginners™ is to celebrate how cooking with your kids leads to better relationships with food and with each other. Sydney and her family truly exemplify this message,” said Tim Snyder, vice president of marketing, Mars Food US, the parent company of the UNCLE BEN’S® Brand.
“This family uses meal time to cook new recipes, try different ingredients, connect with each other and have fun. We hope other families are inspired by the Fialkows to cook together more frequently, which we believe is fundamental to giving children a healthy beginning in life.”
The UNCLE BEN’S® Brand has also awarded each of the three runners up: the Mancebo family of Turlock, Calif., the Mullix family of Wesley Chapel, Fla., and the Sullivan family of Nyack, NY, with a $5,000 savings bond earmarked for each child’s college education and a $10,000 donation for each child’s school cafeteria.
The contest winner was announced on the Rachel Ray Show
The Epstein School celebrated their hometown hero by hosting a viewing party of “The Rachael Ray Show” on which the news of the Fialkow’s Ben’s Beginners™ Cooking Contest win was announced. The school’s celebratory assembly included a cooking demonstration in which Sydney prepared her winning recipe, “Sydney’s Chicken & Rice,” for her classmates.
The news report never mentioned whether the child cooked healthy, whole grain brown or black rice with chicken or starchy white rice, which quickly turns to sugar in the bloodstream. See the article, Worst Foods for Diabetes – White Rice Bad for Blood Sugar.
When you cook with your kids remember to let them know the nutrition facts: White rice also called polished rice, raises blood sugar up about 70-80 points, whereas brown rice raises it about half as much. Brown rice still has the shell on it so it has a more nutty flavor as well as adding fiber to it. Kids cooking with parents can be inspired by healthier values when it comes to putting nutrition details into popular kid-friendly meals.
Child is able to give the $50,000 gift to her school for a cafeteria makeover
“I’m so happy that we won…I can’t believe it. I couldn’t have done it without all of you,” Fialkow said to a crowd of Epstein School students during the afternoon viewing party. “I feel proud that I was able to give this gift to my school too. I can’t wait to see our newly renovated cafeteria.” It’s up to the school cafeteria now to offer healthy food choices to children and let the kids know why the food is healthier.
She gets to keep $20,000 for herself. The rest of the money is for the school’s cafeteria makeover: $50,000 awarded. That’s $70,000 in prize money for the cooking contest designed to bring parents and children together to eat as well as cook as a family.
A ceremonial check was presented by Snyder to The Epstein School administrators Stan Beiner, head of school, and Jane Escalera, food service director. “I’m so thrilled Sydney was able to win this contest for our community and our school,” said Escalera. “Our cafeteria hasn’t been renovated in more than 15 years, so this donation will make a big difference for our school and our students.”
The Ben’s Beginners™ Cooking Contest is an extension of the global Begin With Ben™ campaign, which made a grain of rice a hero for better eating and family togetherness. The campaign visually illustrates the journey of a single grain of rice to a family’s dinner table and encourages consumers to consider rice as a great beginning to any meal – versus simply a side dish. For more information about the UNCLE BEN’S® Brand products, kid-friendly recipes and nutrition information, visit the site, UncleBens.com.
About the UNCLE BEN’S® Brand
UNCLE BEN’S®, the number one rice brand in America, is proud to offer a wide range of rice dishes with flavors and textures that will help bring more to your meals, both for convenient side dishes and savory main courses. UNCLE BEN’S® offers a wide variety of white, whole grain brown, and flavored rice varieties in cook times ranging from 30 minutes to 90 seconds, as well as rice for food service operations such as restaurants, schools and hospitals.
The first mass-produced parboiled rice, UNCLE BEN’S® is the top-selling branded rice in the United States and products can be found in more than 100 countries worldwide. UNCLE BEN’S® Brand products are manufactured by Mars Food NA, part of Mars, Incorporated. For more information, visit UncleBens. View the contest winning cash prize video. See: Ben’s Beginners Grand Prize Winner, Sydney Fialkow, School Assembly.
MPEG-4 Video: View the contest winning cash prize video. Check out the video link: Ben’s Beginners Grand Prize Winner, Sydney Fialkow, School Assembly.
UncleBens Facebook site
Ben’s Beginners Contest Backgrounder
Meet Sydney Fialkow: The Ben’s Beginners Grand Prize Winner
Ben’s Beginners Winning Recipe: Sydney’s Chicken & Rice