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LAHS Student Attending Culinary Institute Of America

on March 19, 2019 - 4:04pm
LAHS sohpmore Kira Tsoodle prepares a meal. Courtesy photo
Los Alamos Daily Post
Los Alamos High School sophomore Kira Tsoodle knows her way around the kitchen and her knowledge in the culinary arts is getting attention.
Recently one of Tsoodle’s teachers submitted an application on her behalf to attend the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Tsoodle was accepted and will attend a week-long course July 7-12. During this course, Tsoodle said she will learn a wide range of material, adding that there will be some focus on Mediterranean food.
Receiving this opportunity was a pleasant surprise.
“I was so excited. I didn’t think I would get into something like this,” Tsoodle said.
When she called her mother, Maria Saunders, a teacher at Little Forest Playschool, to share the good news, Tsoodle said, “I was shrieking but I was so excited!”
She added that she looks forward to meeting fellow culinary enthusiasts as well as seeing the Culinary Institute of America’s campus.
“I’m so excited to meet people who enjoy cooking as much as I do and seeing the campus. I think this is just an exciting opportunity,” Tsoodle said.
A love of cooking runs in Tsoodle’s family. She said her godmother worked as a chef and her grandmother made her own recipes, which were passed on Tsoodle. Tsoodle has already gotten a jump start on her own culinary education. She has taken baking classes at LAHS and plans to take culinary courses next year.
Plus, Tsoodle cooks dinner for her mother every night. Some of her specialties are a steak, mushroom, potato and broccoli dinner as well as spanakopita, a Greek spinach pie.  
Although Saunders said everything her daughter cooks is great.
“There’s nothing this girl can’t make,” Saunders said.
Saunders said she is very proud of her daughter and what Tsoodle has accomplished.
“She deserves it,” Saunders said. “She deserves everything … I’m super proud of my daughter. She is a good girl.”
Saunders added that the community has been very generous in helping Tsoodle attend the culinary school. For instance, Pig + Fig donated $100 to the cause.
To further help cover the cost to attend the course as well as travel expenses, Tsoodle is offering her services as a babysitter during spring break, March 25-29. Parents can drop their children off 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at Little Forest Playschool, 3800 Villa St. Children age 4 to 12 years old will be admitted and all the materials as well as activities will be provided. The cost is $250 for the week or $50 a day. Tsoodle brings experience to this service. She works in the Family YMCA’s after school day care as well as the YMCA’s summer camp program.
Besides being an aspiring chef, Tsoodle also plays clarinet in the high school marching band and is a member of the LAHS’ Native American Club. Saunders said to see her daughter accomplish so much is inspiring.
“It’s a beautiful thing to see your kid do this on her own,” she said.
Anyone interested in making a donation to Tsoodle’s trip can contact Saunders at  A GoFundMe account also has been established, which is