Apex High Culinary Team Wins N.C. Jr. Chef Competition

Raleigh, NC

Photo of Apex High Jr. Chef TeamThe Apex High School culinary team from Wake County won first place in the second North Carolina Jr. Chef Competition, held Monday at the Piedmont Food & Agricultural Processing Center in Hillsborough. With their grilled chicken street tacos with mango salsa, team members Alyssa Townsend and Amanda Marrott took home a trophy and a ticket to Kentucky to represent North Carolina in the Southeast Jr. Chef Competition.

The Hayesville High "Category 4" team from Clay County won second place with their Greek chic pasta bake. The "Parkwood Rebels" from Parkwood High in Union County won third place with their Southern fried chicken lo mein.

All of the competitors showcased their skills in a tight race with all teams taking a gold or silver medal in the N.C. Jr. Chef Competition. The first-place team members received gold medals. The second and third place teams received silver medals. The other five finalist teams also received silver medals: Ashe County High (High County fiesta bowl), Asheville High (Italian bake with beef and roasted vegetables and kale chips), East Chapel Hill High (sweet potato poutine), the Hayesville High "Meatball Boiz" (Mexican meatball sub), and the Hobbton High "Colanders" (chicken fajita bowl). Results of the competition were announced Monday evening 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 second and third place teams have been invited to present at the Thrive NC Festival, sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, at City Market in Raleigh May 9-10. All of the finalist teams are invited to attend the N.C. Jr. Chef Competition fundraiser that the N.C. Chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier is hosting April 7.

For the North Carolina Jr. Chef Competition, Sullivan University in Kentucky – the location of next month's Southeast Jr. Chef Competition – is offering the following scholarships to attend their university to each student team member: 1st place - $16,000, 2nd place - $10,000, 3rd place - $6,000. The Apex High team will compete May 9-10 against teams from other states in the Southeast for the following scholarships to attend Sullivan University: 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.

As part of the competition, students were challenged to work with their Family and Consumer Sciences teachers and School Nutrition administrators to develop a creative recipe for a school lunch entrée that meets the National School Lunch Program nutrition standards, includes at least two North Carolina-grown products and one USDA Foods item, is replicable by School Nutrition Programs, and meets student taste-test preferences. Based on recipes and applications submitted, eight finalist teams were selected to participate in the April 1 cook-off. During the cook-off, teams were challenged to prepare, cook and plate their recipes and present their dish along with the results of student taste tests and surveys to judges. Teams were evaluated and 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.

As Career and Technical Education food, nutrition and culinary arts students, participation in the N.C. Jr. Chef Competition offers an unprecedented opportunity to translate skills learned in the classroom to real-world kitchens, developing recipes to be featured on future school menus across the state. In this way, the Jr. Chef Competition fulfills the goals of inspiring the next generation of culinary professionals, stimulating interest in locally produced agriculture, increasing participation in School Nutrition Programs, providing nutrition education, and encouraging healthy eating habits.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched the Southeast Jr. Chef Competition and challenged each of the eight states in the Southeast to identify a team of students to represent their state. The School Nutrition Services Section and Career and Technical Education Division at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction partnered with the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Farm to School Program, NC FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) and the Farm to School Coalition of NC to plan the North Carolina Jr. Chef Competition. The competition would not have been possible without the generous support of the following sponsors: Farm to School Coalition of NC (Platinum), Johnson & Wales University (Platinum), North Carolina Chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier (Platinum), Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Gold), N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Food Distribution Division (Silver), NC Farm Bureau (Silver), NC Farm to School Cooperative (Silver), Piedmont Food & Agriculture Processing Center (Silver), School Nutrition Association of NC (Silver), Ingles (Bronze), NC Sweet Potato Commission (Bronze), Lowes Foods (Supporter), and Piggly Wiggly (Supporter).

More details about the N.C. Jr. Chef Competition are available online. Stay tuned for recipes, photos and videos from this year's cook-off. Additional information regarding School Nutrition Programs in North Carolina can be found on the School Nutrition Services website. USDA and NCDPI are equal opportunity providers and employers.


In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the agency (state or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (AD-3027) available online and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

* mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

* fax: (202) 690-7442; or * email.


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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