Written by Alison Smith
Merion Elementary student Leo Shack has always liked to spend time in the kitchen. Now that early love of culinary arts could help Leo, a fifth-grader, win a national cooking competition and even give him a chance to appear on “The Rachael Ray Show.”
Leo is participating in Ben’s Beginners Cooking Contest, sponsored by Uncle Ben’s and The Food Network, and the stakes are high. The grand-prize winner receives $15,000 personally and $30,000 to re-vamp their school cafeteria, in addition to the appearance on Ray’s TV show.
Leo and other participants had to submit a video demonstrating how to make a dish — with rice as a key ingredient, as Uncle Ben’s in sponsoring. Leo adapted a risotto recipe, a family favorite, to make it fit within the rules of the competition.
“My mom helped me with the filming as I made the dish but I had to edit the video myself after,” Leo told Lower Merion School District. “The risotto takes about 25 to 30 minutes to cook and the video could only be about three minutes long, so I had to splice everything together to fit in to that time.”
Voting in the Ben’s Beginners contest ends Sunday, Oct. 27. To watch Leo’s video and cast a vote for him, click here and search for “Leo Merion Elementary.”