With so many reality cooking shows on TV, it’s obvious we’re fascinated with food and addicted to drama. But have you ever tried to stew up your own unique recipe – in just 40 minutes? It could be a complete disaster. But not for Texas youths participating in the 4-H Food Challenge – these kids can whip up some mouthwatering masterpieces!
Cooking isn’t the usual activity of choice for many youths today, but Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and its 4-H program have made the kitchen a fun place to be. The 4-H Food Challenge is a contest of culinary knowledge and skill. From a set of predetermined ingredients, teams develop a recipe and prepare the dish within 40 minutes. Teams then make a presentation to a judging panel, explaining the preparation steps, serving size, food safety concerns, nutrition value and cost of the dish.
The contest teaches valuable nutrition and food safety information by making it exciting and rewarding – did we mention there’s a chance to earn a $10,000 scholarship? That’s right. Like many of our Texas 4-H programs, the contest is judged locally and statewide and the grand champion receives a scholarship to continue his or her education. Who knows, the winner might go on to culinary school and become the next Rachel Ray!
And what better way to highlight this great program and its amazing benefits than to share it? On January 23, we put our state-elected officials and their staff members to the test at the annual Extension in the City day. And it was a blast!
Six teams of legislative staff members and 4-Hers took on the challenge to create a recipe from a number of ingredients, including avocados, tomatoes, corn and cilantro. And the dishes looked amazing! To fit the contest into a short schedule, teams were judged on presentation and teamwork. Check out the creations and photos below!