Five high school finalist teams competed in North Carolina Jr.’s annual cooking this month to create unique recipes for school lunches. Apex High of Wake County Public Schools won first place in the fifth statewide and second North Carolina virtual competition. Spice Girl’s Sope recipe weaves a family heritage with innovative flavors. Their recipe was a twist to traditional Mexican street food: a mass conch topped with spicy chicken, beans, pineapple salsa, cabbage, caso fresco and cream.
Their gold medal dish included several ingredients grown in North Carolina, including red cabbage, romaine lettuce, red onion and chicken. The Apex High team participated in a tribute to a table at their school, learned about North Carolina agriculture, planting, growing and harvesting crops from their school garden, hosted a #NCCrunch event at their school farm month school, and competed in the NC Jr. Chef Competition.
Swain High County “Ridgerunner” team won second place and a silver medal for their delicious and fashionable grated chicken tacos, a student favorite. Union Parkwood County High School “Chefs of the Wolf Pack” combined appetizing roll-up lasagna with a homemade salad of homemade cream balsamic vinaigrette to win third place and a silver medal. Monroe Hay’s ‘Masters Menu’, also from Union Province, won fourth place and a silver medal with their Teriyaki Sunset, a delicious fusion of Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. The Ashe County High’s Culinary Husky team won fifth place and a silver medal for their creative and spicy lasagna wrappers, which include Jack Pepper cheese combined with Italian flavors.
The State Department of Public Inquiry, Catherine Travit, congratulated all the winning teams and said she wished she could have been one of the judges on Jr. Chef Cook-Off.
“Wow, all of these dishes sound so good and so professional,” Travit said. “The chef’s hat takes off in front of the winners and their teachers. This is an example of the kind of practical career development that takes place in our schools that can open doors and opportunities for students.”
Career and technical education students, enrolled in culinary and hospitality, food and nutrition, or food and technology science courses, were challenged to work with their family and consumer science teachers and school nutrition principals to develop a creative recipe for school lunch. Who met a list of requirements: Meets the school’s nutrition program standards, including at least two North Carolina-grown products and one USDA Foods item, can be replicated by the school’s nutrition programs, and caters to students.
For the contest, all finalists applied with a recipe, recipe photo, nutritional component and cost analysis, a time management plan for preparing the recipe within the 90-minute time limit, and a video of their team preparing and flooding their recipe. Chefs Jr. also participated in a live virtual interview to present their culinary creations to an evaluation panel. The teams were evaluated according to recipe development, culinary skills and food safety, public presentation, organization, teamwork and use of locally grown products.
NC Junior Chef’s finalist teams were recognized on Wednesday during a tribute session at the NC Family, Career and Community of America Leaders Conference (NCFCCLA) and through today’s Virtual Awards Ceremony. Students were given their own coats and hats by NC Jr. Chef, symbolizing their first step into the world of culinary competition. In addition, they received certificates and medals according to the group scores. Teams in first, second and third place were given boards to display in their schools, and the team in first place has the honor of hosting the competition cup until the next cooking. Sullivan University in Kentucky will offer scholarships to students who are members of the top three groups.
The Young Chef Competition was created to inspire the next generation of culinary professionals, to stimulate interest in locally produced agricultural products, to increase participation in school nutrition programs, to provide nutrition education and to encourage healthy eating habits. NC Public Teaching Department, the school’s nutrition division will work with staff to increase their recipes for food service quantities for school meals and create nutrition education and promotional resources for the recipes and ingredients of North Carolina used.
The NC Junior Chef Competition was designed by the Schools Nutrition Division and the Career and Technical Education Division of the Public Teaching Department in conjunction with the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumerism School Program, the North Carolina School Farm Program, Family, Career and Community Leaders in North Carolina of America (NCFCCLA) and the North Carolina School Farm Coalition.
USDA and NCDPI are equal opportunity providers and employers. Learn more about the NC Jr. competition. Chef is available online. More information about school nutrition programs in North Carolina can be found on the school’s nutrition division website.
In accordance with the Federal Civil Rights Act and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Civil Rights Regulations, the USDA, its agencies, offices and employees and participating institutions or administrators are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age or Reward or reward for past civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by the USDA.
People with disabilities who need alternative means of communication for information about the program (e.g. Braille, capital letters, audio tape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the agency (state or local) where they have applied for benefits. Deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired people can contact the USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800.877.8339. Additionally, program information may be available in languages other than English.
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This institution is an equal opportunity provider.