Moe’s Mini Chef Contest is a promotion that every restaurant in America should adopt ASAP

Little girl in chef's uniform holding up skillet
Photo: Enrique Ramos López / EyeEm (Getty Images)

Let’s kick this post off with a Free Food Alert. Every Sunday, starting this Sunday, April 18, all U.S. locations of Moe’s Southwest Grill (a fast casual Mexican chain with 700 restaurants) will begin offering free kids meals for children under 12 years old. According to a press release sent to The Takeout, it works like this: Order any adult entree at regular price, and your child can choose between a free burrito, free quesadilla, or free taco meal from the kids menu. Useful intel for all! Maybe you can even hit up free Moe’s and free Krispy Kreme in one day. (Quite the weekend plan!)


In order to promote this new Sunday deal, Moe’s is launching the Moe’s Mini Chef Contest, in which parents (of kids 12 and under) can submit their child’s original recipe for the consideration of Moe’s executive chef. All submissions will be judged according to “creativity, flavor combination, and ‘Moe’s-iness,’” and three finalists will be selected. These top three recipes will then be voted on by the public to determine the winner. The child champion will receive a few fun perks: a trip to the Moe’s test kitchen for a VIP menu tasting, a year’s supply of chocolate chip cookies (which come with Moe’s kids meals), and a photoshoot with their winning creation. But this is the cutest and most exciting part: the winning entry will become an actual kids menu item at Moe’s nationwide this September.

Tell me, reader: Is there a single restaurant on this planet that would not benefit from such a promotion? After all, the only thing less predictable than a child’s unrefined palate is their off-the-wall imagination, and I’m positive that these Mini Chef submissions will give the executive chef of Moe’s Southwest Grill a run for their money. Presumably the finalists’ dishes will involve Mexican-inspired food, but who knows? Maybe we’ll see chicken nugget nachos or Crayola queso. Just imagine if this was a standard contest at all of America’s largest restaurant chains. I’d love to know what gastronomically-minded 7-year-olds would do to improve upon In-N-Out’s fries.

Parents can submit their children’s entries here, from now until May 16. The finalists can be voted on here starting May 31. Start a brainstorming session with your kids today, preferably when they’re hungry.

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.


moistened bint

preferably when they’re hungry.

Oh, there’s no getting anything done with my kid when she’s hungry. She has a hard time realizing the cause, she just gets more disagreeable and moody. Not saying I’m any better, I just know I’m hungry. There’d at least have to be snacks in this brainstorming session.

Yes, good promo. Also really like the kids eat free. Feeding kids is good.