8 Teams Advance to Second N.C. Jr. Chef Competition Cook-Off

Raleigh, NC

Junior Chef Competition LogoHigh school students from across North Carolina are putting on their chef’s hats to cook up creative school lunch recipes for the second N.C. Jr. Chef Competition. Eight finalist teams from Career and Technical Education food, nutrition, and culinary arts courses will meet in a cook-off April 1 at the Piedmont Food & Agriculture Processing Center in Hillsborough. Based on a review of all applications and recipes submitted, the following teams were selected for the cook-off phase of the competition:

  • Apex High School (Wake County Public Schools)
  • Ashe County High School (Ashe County Schools)
  • Asheville High School (Asheville City Schools)
  • East Chapel Hill High School (Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools)
  • Hayesville High School (Clay County Schools) – two teams
  • Hobbton High School (Sampson County Schools)
  • Parkwood High School (Union County Public Schools)

The students worked with their Family and Consumer Sciences teachers and School Nutrition directors to develop a creative recipe for a school lunch entrée based on a tall order: It has to meet the National School Lunch Program nutrition standards, include at least two North Carolina-grown products and one USDA Foods item, be replicable by School Nutrition Programs, and also pass student taste-tests. 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 competition will recognize students for their ability to work as teams to demonstrate valuable skills in recipe development, food preparation, marketing, public presentation, organization, and local food systems.

The three top teams will be recognized April 1 in Greensboro 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 at Sullivan University in Kentucky on May 9-10. The second- and third- place teams will be invited to present in Raleigh May 9-10 at the Thrive NC Festival hosted by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

As awards for the Jr. Chef Competitions, Sullivan is offering scholarships to attend the university to each student team member:

  • N.C. 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 North Carolina Jr. Chef Competition first-place team will receive a trophy to display in its school until the next cook-off. With the help of the following sponsors, finalist teams will receive support for travel to the N.C. Jr. Chef Competition, registration for the N.C. FCCLA State Conference, ingredients, chef’s hats and coats, and certificates. In addition, the North Carolina chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier is hosting a fundraiser April 7 to help the state’s first place team travel to Kentucky for the Southeast Jr. Chef Competition.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched the Southeast Jr. Chef Competition last year 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 Services Section and Career and Technical Education Division at the N.C. Department of Public Instruction in partnership with the N.C. 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.

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.


About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

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