Young celebrity chefs share talents at church

Ruby Jones, left, and Hart Irby in the kitchen at First UMC Conway.

The MidYouth group (students in fifth through seventh grades) at First UMC Conway on Dec. 14 enjoyed a special gift: a dinner cooked by the two celebrity chefs in their midst.

Hart Irby, a seventh-grader whose recipe of Asian Catfish Sliders was chosen to be cooked for President Barack Obama at the White House Kids’ State Dinner in 2014 (part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign to fight childhood obesity), and Ruby Jones, a fifth-grader who finished as first runner-up on a November episode of the Food Network program Chopped Junior, prepared a meal for 75 fellow MidYouth members and guests. Hart’s sliders were the main course, and Ruby prepared dessert, a brownie topped with ice cream and chocolate drizzle.

“Kids with special interests and talents need to have the opportunity to shine,” said Rod Hocott, director of MidYouth ministries at First UMC Conway, in a post on Facebook. “I hope this will be a night they will remember because their MidYouth group-mates, and youth minister, certainly won’t forget.”