High school students from across North Carolina are throwing their chef’s hats into the ring to spice up school lunch. Eight finalist teams from Career and Technical Education food, nutrition, and culinary arts programs will compete in a cook-off April 9, 2018 at Guilford Technical Community College as part of the first-ever North Carolina Jr. Chef Competition.
The students were challenged to work with their Family and Consumer Sciences teachers and School Nutrition directors to develop a creative recipe for a school lunch entrée that meets the National School Lunch Program nutrition standards, includes at least two North Carolina-grown products and one USDA Foods item, is replicable by School Nutrition Programs, and meets student taste-test preferences. Based on a review of all applications and recipes submitted, the following teams were selected to compete in the cook-off phase of the competition:
- Ashe County High School (Ashe County Schools)
- Clyde A. Erwin High School (Buncombe County Schools)
- West Carteret High School (Carteret County Schools)
- East Mecklenburg High School (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools)
- East Gaston High School (Gaston County Schools)
- Hunter Huss High School (Gaston County Schools)
- Topsail High School (Pender County Schools)
- Parkwood High School (Union County Public Schools)
During the cook-off, the teams must prepare, cook and present their recipes for a panel of judges, who will select first-, second- and third-place teams. The three top teams will be recognized April 9, 2018 during the opening session of the state conference of the North Carolina Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, a chapter of the national FCCLA.
The first-place team will advance to the Southeast Jr. Chef Competition May 9-10, 2018 at Sullivan University in Kentucky.
As awards, Sullivan is offering the following scholarships to attend their university to each student team member:
- NC Jr. Chef Competition: 1st place – $16,000, 2nd place – $10,000, 3rd place – $6,000
- Southeast Jr. Chef Competition: 1st place – full tuition and fees (value of $45,000 – $55,000 each), 2nd place – tuition (value of $47,000 each), 3rd place – $20,000 scholarship
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched the Southeast Jr. Chef Competition and challenged each of the eight states in the Southeast region to identify a team for the Southeast Jr. Chef Competition. The NC Jr. Chef Competition was planned by the School Nutrition Services Section and Career and Technical Education Division at the Department of Public Instruction in partnership with the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Farm to School Program, North Carolina Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (NC FCCLA) and the Farm to School Coalition of North Carolina.
The Junior Chef Competition was created to inspire the next generation of culinary professionals, stimulate interest in locally produced agriculture, increase participation in School Nutrition Programs, provide nutrition education, and encourage healthy eating habits. Additionally, this competition will recognize students for their ability to work as members of a team to demonstrate valuable skills in recipe development, food preparation, marketing, public presentation, organization, and local food systems.
Through a grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, finalist teams will receive support for travel to the North Carolina Jr. Chef Competition, registration for the NC FCCLA State Conference, ingredients, chef’s hats and coats, and certificates.
In addition, the winning team will receive a trophy for display at their school until the next N.C. Jr. Chef Competition. The North Carolina chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier is hosting a fundraiser April 12, 2018 in Raleigh NC, to help the state’s first place team travel to Kentucky for the Southeast Regional Jr. Chef Competition.
Additional information about the North Carolina Jr. Chef Competition is available online.
Source: NC Department of Public Instruction