Six teams of middle school students from East Harlem, Washington Heights and the Bronx took to the kitchen in the Children's Aid Society's Iron Go! Chef's competition on Friday.
Each group in the East Harlem contest designed an original menu and had one hour to prepare the meal.
The competition came at the end of a year-long after-school culinary program that taught kids about healthy food and cooking.
"It was really fun like cooking different things, and going around tasting other people's stuff to see what they learned about healthy stuff," said student Nafi Diallo.
"Health food doesn't taste as bad as it looks," said student Leasha Williams.
"We celebrate basketball, we celebrate all these other things, why can't we celebrate cooking? I said why don't we come up with a cooking competition?" said program director Chevar Francis.
A panel of judges evaluated the teams based on cooperation, cleanliness and safety, taste, originality and healthfulness and presentation.