Applications Now Open for 2013 Youth Culinary Challenge at Iowa State Fair

Cook ThisAMES, Iowa – Iowa 4-H is inviting youth from across the state to showcase their skills in a competition that puts the knife to the board. The fourth annual “Cook This!” 4-H Culinary Challenge is Aug. 9-10, 2013, in the 4-H Exhibits Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Teams will be divided into three groups by age: junior level (fifth and sixth grade), intermediate (seventh and eighth grade), and senior (ninth through 12th grade). Teams are only required to have one member in 4-H. Youth can join 4-H online or through their county Iowa State University Extension office.

“The competition provides the opportunity for fifth through 12th grade youth to demonstrate their culinary craftiness as well as the knowledge behind it,” said Kaitlyn Romitti, Cook This! event coordinator with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “This year the competitors at each level each will be given an ethnic theme, provided with recipes and given a basket containing all the required ingredients needed to execute their challenge. Each age group will be required to present their dish and will be judged on knife skills and their creativity, in addition to other categories tailored to each cuisine and age level."

"Cook This! provides a great opportunity for youth to try new things and expand their culinary knowledge as they decide how to make their recipe stand out from the others,” Romitti added.

Applications will be accepted until June 30. Teams will be selected and announced by July 15. Youth may apply in teams, pairs or individually, in which case the member or members will be matched with other youth.

“Cook This! is an excellent opportunity for Iowa youth to learn about where their food comes from, showcase their knowledge of food preparation and safety, learn team building and leadership, and gain communication skills. We’re excited to add some new elements and themes this year and look forward to providing more details and educational materials throughout the summer,” commented Romitti. For more information or to apply, visit