A 2016 Hayes High School graduate is a finalist in a national taco contest, which is in the final round of voting.
Jarod Siekman, 20, a sophomore at Bluffton University in Ohio, is currently a national finalist in the Sodexo’s Make It Mindful Taco contest, which is a competition to find a taco recipe that can be served in all Sodexo locations. The winner will be determined by online votes on the contest website.
Siekman said his creation — a chicken, avocado and mango taco — was the product of a study aboard trip to Guatemala.
“My recipe is a chicken taco with mango, avocado, feta cheese, red onion, lettuce, red salsa and cilantro,” he said. “I came up with this idea from my semester-long study abroad trip to Guatemala. When I walked home every day, I would pass a street taco stand and would get a taco that had plenty of fruit, salsas, and chicken on it. Guatemala also has plenty of avocado farms, and I enjoy avocados, so I thought to include that as well. My inspiration behind my taco comes from my experiences in Guatemala.”
Siekman is a studying math and secondary education. While he doesn’t really cook very often, he loves tacos.
“I got involved in this contest when I saw an advertisement for it in my cafeteria at Bluffton University,” Siekman said. “It included a link where you could submit a recipe for a taco out of the ingredients available that could potentially be served in all Sodexo locations. This caught my eye because tacos are my favorite food, and I have some good ideas to make a great taco.”
Siekman added he was also drawn to the competition after hearing about one of the prizes.
“The winner also receives free lunch for a year, which is enticing,” Siekman said. “When I saw this contest, I thought if I win, I could add some more food that I enjoy and thought others would enjoy to the menu.”
Sodexo recently announced that Siekman was one of four finalist, much to Siekman’s shock.
“At first, I was very surprised to hear I was a finalist, because they choose four finalists out of everybody nationwide who entered,” Siekman said.
Votes can be cast at https://www.mindful.sodexo.com/vote/ until 4:59 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 21.