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11-year-old hopes to win contest with rice hotdish

Stacey Cresswell saw an ad for a food competition with the Rachel Ray Show and Uncle Ben’s rice for families with young children. Her daughter, Kailey Kools, was happy to whip up a hamburger hotdish, make a three-minute video and submit it for the competition. PIPPI MAYFIELD/DL NEWSPAPERS

Kailey Kools needs your vote.

The 11-year-old girl has entered an Uncle Ben’s Beginners Cooking Contest, and if she wins, Detroit Lakes Middle School wins as well.

After Kailey’s mom, Stacey Cresswell, saw an ad that Rachel Ray teamed up with Uncle Ben’s for this contest, they decided to enter. The contest is for parents with children in kindergarten through eighth grade, and they had to submit a three-minute video of the child helping make a dinner that involved the rice.

Kailey started out making stuffed peppers, but they turned out to be too difficult to make in the time allotted. So she switched to hamburger hotdish with rice.

“I don’t think she realized how much work goes into three minutes,” Cresswell said.

Through some time-lapse video work — for browning hamburger, chopping the onions, baking the hotdish and such —  Kailey was able to get her production down to three minutes.

They submitted the video for competition, it was approved, and they are asking for the public to vote so they have a shot at being a finalist. From now through Oct. 27, people can vote once a day at

Kailey said she enjoys cooking, and this wasn’t her first time in the kitchen. Her specialty is pancakes.

She said her and her sister woke up early while staying at their grandpa’s house and made him pancakes and eggs.

Kailey and the other video entrants will be judged 20 percent on personality shown in the video, 20 percent on the enthusiasm for the dish she’s making, 20 percent on demonstrating her knowledge of the recipe, 20 percent on creativity to questions she had to respond to and finally, 20 percent on the total number of votes she receives.

“We’ve been voting like crazy and hoping,” Cresswell said.

One more fun bonus for Kailey was that they filmed the video on her 11th birthday.

Three winners will be awarded out of the 600-plus entries. The grand prize winner will receive $30,000 for the school’s cafeteria and $15,000 for the family. They will also fly out to be on the Rachel Ray Show.

Kailey said that if they win, they plan to put some of the money away for college and some to take a trip to Disney World or Disneyland.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.