This may, a group of eager youngsters is picking up the chef’s mantle to test their cooking skills in a friendly competition. Read more about it.
Kentucky’s Youth Cooking for Success
Students from all across the state are gathering for Junior Chef Competition. This competition is more than just a culinary contest, and students will have a chance to meet local agricultural producers as well as research homegrown products. They will have to work as a team cooking up nutritious recipes and creating healthy habits as they go.
Kentucky’s Junior Chef competition was developed by executive branch manager Tina Garland, from Kentucky Department of Agriculture. The original idea was born in 2012 when she attended a conference in Vermont. This event included a student competition.
Brewing up a Competition
Student teams are formed, and they can consist of no less than two and no more than five members. Every team cooks their way through rounds. The district competitions start in April and end in May with only one team per school allowed. Sean Southard, communications director from the state agricultural department, noted that this unique program was like a bracket challenge. Based on food preparation technique, time management, creativity, and knowledge, the students are awarded points. Every meal must be according to the National School Lunch Program and include at least one USDA item such as frozen broccoli, chicken strips, and more.
Before advancing to the finals at State Fair, the winning regional teams have time to fine-tune their recipes and sharpen their cooking skills. With two daily contests, sixteen teams will compete leading up to the finals in which the top two teams will clash for the prestigious first place.
Best of the Best
Last year’s team, a group from Corbin High School, took second place in 2017. The Roasting Redhounds is composed of Kendell Lewis, Rachel Standifer, and Sierra Johnson. Redhounds coach, Jessica Lester noted that they were hoping to win. Lester’s team gathers three days a week and is dedicated to improving their cooking skills and teamwork. She is proud of her team’s growth and success. Last year’s winning team is looking for a repeat. The Black Bear duo from Harlan County High School, which includes Selena Moreno and Kieran Chadwick, won the trophy with their Taco Poptart in 2018.
From start to finish, this competition is an excellent way for students to see what it’s like to work in the food industry.