Second family in running for Uncle Ben’s contest

Published 9:01 am Sunday, October 26, 2014

Emma Haugen, and the rest, of the Haugen family are taking part in the Uncle Ben’s Ben’s Beginners Cooking Contest. Photo provided.

Emma Haugen, and the rest, of the Haugen family are taking part in the Uncle Ben’s Ben’s Beginners Cooking Contest.
Photo provided.

A second local family has entered Uncle Ben’s, Ben’s Beginners Cooking Contest.

The Haugen family of Austin entered the contest, which aims to encourage children to make healthier choices by getting them interested in cooking at an early age. The contest hopes to bring parents to connect with their children one meal at a time and aims to make cooking an enjoyable activity that brings families together.

Jen Haugen, who works as a dietitian for Austin Public Schools, heard about the contest on a TV commercial, which showed the benefits and importance of children cooking with their parents.

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“I’m naturally drawn to that,” Jen Haugen said. “I really like showing my kids how to cook and I really think it’s important that they know.”

Jen and her 9-year-old daughter, Emma, appeared in the video, making Emma’s Taco Rice Bowls. Jen’s son Riley was the videographer. Emma was excited to make the video.

“I really like doing it with my mom,” she said.

Parents with children who are in kindergarten through eighth grade were asked to submit a home video that showed the family together in the kitchen introducing a rice-based dish they prepared and discussing their experience cooking together. The winner will receive $15,000 cash and a $30,000 cafeteria makeover for their school.

Emma chose taco rice bowls because it combined two of her favorite foods.

“I love tacos and it’s really cool in bowls, and I like rice too,” Emma said.

She hopes to help her school, Sumner Elementary School, with winning the contest. She already has big plans for her own winnings.

“I would put some in my college money, I’d have some to spend on stuff, and I’d give some to my church,” she said.

Jen said she supports the college fund. The mother/daughter team is hopeful for the win to give money to their school.

“We thought it would be fun, and the incentive of winning money for the school was really big,” Jen said.

Emma added,”I really want to help my school, especially since it’s my last year.”

Emma will be moving to I.J. Holton intermediate School next year.

The contest received hundreds of entries from families across the United States. In an effort to help the Haugen family strengthen their score and give them an opportunity to be chosen as a finalist, they are asking the community to vote for the video they submitted titled Emma’s Taco Rice Bowls.

“We would be grateful for the communities support if they choose to vote for her online,” Jen said.

Individuals can view all the contest videos and vote for their favorite through Oct. 29, by visiting or, clicking on the view videos on the contest page, and searching for the recipe name. People are encouraged to vote once per 24 hours. For more information on the Ben’s Beginners Cooking Contest, visit