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FORT WALTON BEACH — Two top finishers from the Sodexo Future Chefs Competition from Okaloosa Academy Charter School prepared their recipes for the School Board on Wednesday. 

The annual Future Chefs Competition was held March 2 between Liza Jackson Preparatory and Okaloosa Academy. This year's theme was "healthy soul food."

Sodexo, a company that provides food services to the charter schools, sponsored the event. 

First-place winner Quolee Jackson and third-place finisher Kevin Velasco competed against 46 other applicants who submitted recipes.

"We love showing kids the importance of eating healthy," said RoseAnn Castro, chef manager at Sodexo. "We wanted to instill in them a joy for cooking and show them that they can do this at home."

On Wednesday Quolee made his "Quolee Quarter Pounder with seasoned home fries" while Kevin prepared his "Kevin's Twisted Tacos with Spanish rice." 

Aliyah Griffin from Liza Jackson won second place with her zucchini shrimp scampi.

"Cooking feels awesome," Kevin said while preparing his dish. "I always see my mom cooking in the kitchen, and I wanted to do it. I love cooking now."

Before the competition, Sodexo employees helped the students make their recipes healthier by substituting ingredients such as yogurt for sour cream and turkey bacon for pork bacon.

"I want to be a chef because making healthy food can change people's lives," Quolee said. "If they don't eat healthy, their bodies won't function properly."

Judging was based on healthy attributes, kid appeal, ease of preparation, plate presentation, originality, taste and the use of featured healthy ingredients.  

Quolee's healthy hamburger recipe was submitted for the national Sodexo Future Chefs competition in May.

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