Youth Gain a Dash of Culinary Knowledge at the 2011 4-H Youth Conference

AMES, Iowa – Students who attended the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference June 28-30 learned the basics of food preparation at the Cook This! workshop with hands-on activities and a dash of fun.

“This was a great experience for the youth to learn basic culinary knowledge,” said workshop co-director Lisa Schmidt, a junior in culinary science at Iowa State University. “It was great to see them interact with food, which will hopefully push them to do more cooking and baking on their own.”

The workshop lasted an hour and a half each day, and students learned the basics of knife safety, how to properly cut fruits and vegetables, how to make bread and how to properly cook meat. The north Ames Fareway donated groceries to the workshop.  Three commodity groups shared information with the students on beef, pork and eggs.

Schmidt and workshop co-director AnnaBear Vance held a bread design competition and a food jeopardy game during the workshop. The winners won candy and Iowa 4-H cookbooks. The events offered youths a preview of the Cook This! competition to be held at the 2011 Iowa State Fair.

“I enjoyed watching the kids learn and grow more comfortable with both the kitchen equipment and each other over the course of the workshop,” said Vance, a junior in culinary science.

The youth conference included a wide array of workshops for the students, which are geared toward educating them about career choices, exposing them to the opportunities Iowa State University has to offer and expanding their interests.

“This is a chance for people to explore some things they have never done before and to discover new opportunities,” said Brenda Allen, a 4-H youth development specialist with Iowa State University Extension.

The 2011 Cook This! 4-H Culinary Competition will take place Aug. 15–17 at the Iowa State Fair. For more information, contact Lisa Schmidt at or AnnaBear Vance at