A first-grader at Joe Dan Mills Elementary School in Austin ISD got a surprise in December when he was awarded the grand prize in the Ben’s Beginners Cooking Contest. Sam Thyng submitted a recipe for Creepy Calzones with Squirmy, Wormy Rice to the contest run by Uncle Ben’s brand.
Thyng received a check for $15,000 and the school received a check for $30,000 for a cafeteria makeover. Since launching the contest in 2012, the program has awarded more than $1 million to motivate families to cook together. For the 2018 winners, hundreds of rice-based entries were evaluated on creativity and presentation.