Niyata Rana has big plans for her school cafeteria, and they involve cupcakes and sparkles.
The fifth-grader from Burr Ridge hopes to win a $30,000 renovation for the Pleasantdale Middle School cafeteria in the Uncle Ben’s rice Ben’s Beginners cooking contest. And if she does, she would like to add cupcakes to the menu and sparkles to the walls.
“I want to paint the walls purple,” said Niyata, which would be an appropriate tribute to her potentially prize-winning recipe: purple passion rice — a colorful concoction of beets, dried cranberries, toasted almonds, and of course, rices.
“My grandma taught me the recipe,” said Niyata, one of hundreds of children from across the country to enter this year’s Ben’s Beginners contest. The contest invites young chefs to create a recipe on camera. The resulting videos are posted online, where people can vote for their favorite contestants. The top vote-getters will be announced Oct. 28, with the grand prize winner set to be announced later in the year.
The grand prize winner will receive a $30,000 cafeteria makeover, $15,000 for his or her family, and a trip to appear on the Rachael Ray television show in New York.
It was Niyata’s grandmother who gave her the idea to enter the contest after she saw the competition mentioned on the Rachael Ray show.
“I love to cook,” Niyata said, and while she would welcome a chance to travel to New York, it was her passion for cooking that led her to make her purple passion rice video. Grandma called the recipe simply purple rice.
“That was too boring,” said Niyata, who jazzed the name up for the contest.
Niyata’s video can be seen at
https://www.bensbeginnerscontest.com/brand/gallery?region_id=us-en&content_id=523. Voters can vote once a day until Oct. 27.