ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. — Registration is now open for Jr Iron Chef VT, a culinary competition for Vermont middle and high school students. Those looking to demonstrate their adeptness in the kitchen—chopping, slicing, blanching, frying, plating, and other kitchen skills—are invited to cook in the statewide contest, to be held March 18th, 2017 at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction.
This is the tenth consecutive year Jr Iron Chef VT has challenged teams of students to create healthy and delicious dishes, made from local ingredients, which will ultimately inspire school lunch menus. Preparing for and participating in the contest provides hands-on experiential learning which helps create positive attitudes toward healthy food and a greater awareness of our local food system.
“This year we’ve got a few special twists in the works,” says Jr Iron Chef VT coordinator, Amy Gifford. “The tweens and teens participating will be treated to a special birthday celebration and we are working on a special guest list for the Judges’ Panel. More details will be revealed soon!”
Applications will be accepted until January 24th, 2017 on a first-come, first-serve basis. The registration fee is $150.00 for each team. Registration is limited to the first 72 teams, consisting of three to five students in 6th-8th grade, or 9th-12th grade. More information, including competition rules and instructions for registering, is available online at www.jrironchefvt.org.
The contest guidelines are rigorous, intending to demonstrate the real-life challenges that food service face in creating healthy meals for schools. Two heats will be held the day of the competition, with 90 minutes of cooking time per heat.
The contest features three award categories—Mise en Place, Crowd Pleaser, and Lively Local—with winners in each age group, judged by a panel of judges. Winning teams receive prize packages, and have an opportunity to feature their recipes for legislators at the Vermont Statehouse Cafeteria in April, 2017.
Jr Iron Chef VT is hosted by Vermont FEED, a collaborative Farm to School Project of NOFA-VT and Shelburne Farms. From the start, the event has been committed to providing middle and high school students with a hands-on experience cooking nutritious, farm-fresh foods. When the event began in 2008, 35 teams participated. Last year, 236 students from every corner of the state competed on 58 teams.
NOFA-VT and Shelburne Farms
For more articles out of New England, click here.