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Eight Teams Advance to Third NC Jr. Chef Cook-Off

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High school students from across North Carolina have won the chance to compete in a cook-off and spice up school lunch with entrée recipes they created for the third North Carolina Jr. Chef Competition  . Eight finalist teams from Career and Technical Education food, nutrition, and culinary arts courses will compete in a cook-off Feb. 7 at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte.

The following teams were selected to compete in the cook-off phase of the competition, based on the applications and recipes submitted:
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.

  • Apex High (Wake County Public Schools)
  • Ashe County High (Ashe County Schools)
  • Clyde A. Erwin High (Buncombe County Schools)
  • East Chapel Hill High (Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools)
  • Hayesville High (Clay County Schools)
  • Parkwood High (Union County Public Schools)
  • Southern Lee High (Lee County Schools)
  • Swain County High (Swain County Schools)

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 twoNorth Carolina-grown products and one USDA Foods item, is replicable by School Nutrition Programs, and passes student taste-tests.

During the cook-off, teams must prepare, cook and present their recipes for a panel of judges, who will select first-, second- and third-place teams. Students are recognized 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. The finalists and top three teams will be honored during an award ceremony immediately following the cook-off. The first-place team will receive a trophy to display in their school until the next cook-off and advance to the Southeast Jr. Chef Competition May 7-8 at Sullivan University in Kentucky. Sullivan is offering scholarships to the top three teams at both the state and regional level.

The U.S. 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 of high school students to compete. The N.C. Jr. Chef Competition was planned by the School Nutrition and District Operations Division  and Career and Technical Education Division  at the Department of Public Instruction in partnership with the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Farm to School ProgramNorth Carolina Family, Career and Community Leaders of America  (NC FCCLA) and the Farm to School Coalition of North Carolina  .

The competition is made possible with the support of the following sponsors: Farm to School Coalition of North Carolina  (Platinum), Les Dames d’Escoffier North Carolina  (Platinum), North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Food Distribution Division (Platinum),

North Carolina SweetPotato Commission  (Gold), Johnson & Wales University  (Silver), School Nutrition Association of North Carolina  (Silver), and North Carolina Farm to School Cooperative (Bronze).

USDA and NCDPI are equal opportunity providers and employers. Additional information about the North Carolina Jr. Chef Competition is available online  . More information regarding School Nutrition Programs in North Carolina can be found on the School Nutrition Services website.