The UNCLE BEN'S® Brand named Cai Killings of Pembroke Pines, Florida, one of five grand prize winners of the Ben's Beginners™ Cooking Contest. The nationwide contest encourages children to make healthier meal choices by getting them interested in cooking at an early age. The Ben's Beginners initiative is designed to empower parents to connect with their children one meal at a time and bring families closer together.
"It is very important to get kids in the kitchen at a young age and educate them on nutrition and how fun cooking healthy meals with their families can be," said Lara McCauley, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Mars Food North America, the parent company of the UNCLE BEN'S® Brand. "Through our Ben's Beginners movement we are excited to know that we helped bring families together in the kitchen as well as at the dinner table."
Cai Killings was one of 25 finalists selected from hundreds of entrants in grades Kindergarten through eighth. Entrants submitted videos of themselves and their families preparing a rice-based dish and discussing their experience cooking together as part of the third annual cooking contest. Cai was selected as one of five grand prize winners and awarded with a $30,000 school cafeteria makeover, a $15,000 cash prize and a hometown celebration at Franklin Academy with New York-based celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson.
"We're so excited to have been chosen," said Shavon Killings, Cai's mother. "Cai is an aspiring chef, and he jumps at every opportunity to help out in the kitchen. This contest has been a wonderful experience for him and our entire family. It's fueled Cai's passion and allowed us to meet so many new people in our community who have shown support for what he's doing."