May 9, 2013
provides an overview of and interviews from the . The competition's goal is to provide its youth participants hands-on cooking experience and knowledge of healthy and local food choices. The competition included a Recipe Contest and a Cook-off Competition. The top eight Recipe Contest teams were invited to prepare their meals -- which had to incorporate fresh, local, and United States Department of Agriculture foods, and be practical and easy for school food service operations to offer as part of their meal programs -- at the Cook-off Competition at Michigan State University on in May 2013.
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Whitney Vance: Everybody ready? On your mark, get set, go. You can start cooking. We are at our second ever Michigan Junior Chef Competition. We have teams here, made up of three to four students each and one to two adult coaches per team. These teams have submitted the recipes to a recipe contest and the top eight teams were selected to join us here, at Michigan State University's Anthony Hall, to actually prepare their recipes for us, bring them to life.
Nick Drzal: Well, this is a great event. We're really excited to get the students involved. We want to get students cooking healthy foods. We want to encourage kids to eat those healthy school meals that our food service directors are trying to create. We have a new federal mandate to create healthy school meals and this is really one way to get kids involved. So it couldn't be a more fun and more educational way to get kids involved.
Colleen Matts: It's always been about how to get kids more engaged in learning about food, including local food, and learning about how to prepare in the kitchen and then being excited to eat it. So many of these school kids may see local foods at their schools already or may have school food directors that are interested in sourcing the food from local farmers. So we're trying to support that here, trying to spread the awareness that it is a possibility to purchase local food for your school meals program through this event and maybe have students become the ambassadors for local food at their schools.
Deb Grischke: Oh, I'm expecting great things from these students. I am a huge advocate of kids in the kitchen and kids of all ages. To me, it's science at its best and everything smells great so I'm excited. I'm expecting great things.
Megan O'Connor: We have prepared a Mexican pizza and a Hawaiian smoothie. The pizza is like - it's basically a taco and pizza [inaudible] and who doesn't like tacos and pizza?
Allison Gyurich: Our recipe was rotini alfredo and then we had a salad with balsamic vinegar and a fruit parfait on the side.
Evan Krzyzaniak: Today, we made our colorful cafeteria dish - cuisine, cuisine, my bad. And we had a fruit salad, a potato casserole and we had whole wheat muffins.
Can I get in the oven?
David Rose: Well, my students right now have not really had a culinary background so during their training process, they learned a lot about food safety, locally grown products, knife skills, different types of skills that they can use in their normal, everyday lives.
And can you tell me something that you've learned from being a part of this competition?
Brendon Sommer: Mainly how to use a knife without trying to cut my fingers off.
Susan Davis: Well, I think the big challenge is finding - in preparing this dish is finding something that is healthy for students to eat and also, something that will taste good and appealing. And I think they've accomplished that. Our family has enjoyed what they've come up with and eaten a lot of it.
Ian Diem: But times have changed, as far as school lunches are. They're - people are becoming more aware of health conscious, heart smart foods and things of that nature for the kids, which is extremely important.
The menu for today is flexitarian extravaganza. A flexitarian is someone who isn't necessarily a vegetarian and usually eats meat on a normal basis. We [inaudible] each week so that's how I came up with the name.
Alex O'Donnell: I was really excited to see what everyone else made because we made - like we made [inaudible], I wonder what else you could do with these kind of ingredients and stuff to make something that would still - I don't know, fit the requirements in what we made. So we were really excited, all of us were, to like see what everyone else made.
Drzal: And our first place winners who will receive the check for $750 is Eight is Enough.
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Erin Carlson: I really hope that they see that healthy is an alternative and we can eat healthy and it still tastes good and they can pass that on to the other students in the school. We actually have a plan to put this meal in our school lunch at the end of the month.
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