Winning Teams Announced for the 2013 Cook This! 4-H Culinary Challenge

AMES, Iowa  --  Youth from across the state showcased their skills in the kitchen during the 2013 Cook This! 4-H Culinary Challenge at the Iowa State Fair. Winners have been announced for each of three age divisions.

Cook This!Teams competed in a culinary, communications and nutritional challenge at the junior, intermediate and senior levels, said Kaitlyn Romitti, Cook This event coordinator with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Teams were provided their respective ethnic cuisine recipes to practice making as a team prior to competition. The teams also presented information on different food and nutrition related topics during a communications challenge in addition to testing their expertise in produce and equipment identfication, food safety and culinary knowledge challenges.

Teams were judged based on creativity, food safety, communication and teamwork, Romitti said. Scores for the communications challenge and identification challenges also factored into each team's score. Winning teams from each age division are listed below. 

Junior level (fifth-sixth grade)

First place: Cookin' Crusaders, Woodbury County; Jessica Kratz, Anna Plathe, Lauren Sobaski
Second place: The Three Amigos, Warren County; Ally Olson, Sarah Mumm, Meredith Hoffman
Third place: Sizzlin' Sweetie Pies, Warren County; Gabby McCoy, Ashlynn Williams, Vanessa Hautekeete

Intermediate level (seventh-eighth grade)

First place: Kitchen Heat, Warren County; Hannah McCoy, Leonora James, Lucas Henkelman
Second place: Shooting Stars, Madison County; Grace Erpelding, Alaina O’Connor, Paige O’Connor
Third place: Gourmet Girls, Polk County; Evalina Grimaldi, Freedom Clark, Aspen Davis

Senior level (ninth-12th grade)

First place: The Three Ls, Marshall/Boone counties; Lauren Mosher, Leah Mosher, Landra Reece
Second place: Stud Muffins, Woodbury County; Nicole Kratz, Karissa Fjeldheim, Tyler Paulsen
Third place: The Spice Girls, Mahaska County; Sandra Blom, Lexi Randau, Jennifer Ackers

Teams received a prize package sponsored by the Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Turkey Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Fareway,  Iowa Egg Council, Successful Farming Magazine, Iowa 4-H Foundation, Iowa State University College of Human Sciences and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the North Central Cheese Industry Association, Maytag Dairy Farms, AgVenture, Two Chicks from the Sticks, Our Iowa Magazine, Cookies and C&H Sugar.  The Three Ls, first place senior-level team, will have their recipes tested in the Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen and featured in Successful Farming magazine. In addition, each winning team member who enrolls in an academic program in Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences or College of Human Sciences will receive a $500 scholarship.

Judges for the event included Erica Beirman, culinary science advisor at Iowa State University; Jan Temple, a retired ISU Extension and Outreach nutrition and health program specialist; Anne Rehnstrom, a member of the National Pork Board; Kathy Sibbel, the owner of a preschool in Ankeny, Iowa; Diane Ward, an egg specialist with the Iowa Egg Council; Annie Peterson, a freelance food editor at Meredith Corporation; Lois White, Director of Consumer Affairs with the Iowa Egg Council; Susan Hoss, co-owner of Main Dish Media in Des Moines; and Rosemary Hutchinson, a former food editor at Meredith Corporation.