AMES, Iowa – Iowa elementary-, middle school- and high school-age foodies have until July 15 to apply for “Cook This!,” a new food and nutrition challenge for youth at the Iowa State Fair Aug. 17, 18 and 19.
“We’re extending the deadline because we know there are more kids and teens out there who’d like a challenge in the kitchen at State Fair. But it’s first come, first served, so sign up now” said Katie Ruff, Cook This! coordinator for Iowa State University Extension 4-H Youth Development.
Application information is available online at www.extension.iastate.edu/4h/statefair/cookthis.
The challenge takes place Tuesday, Aug. 17, Wednesday, Aug. 18 and Thursday, Aug. 19, in the 4-H Exhibit Building on the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Over three days, 10 teams in each of the three age groups will compete in a multi-part challenge that tests their knowledge of food safety, produce, food preparation and presentation, and proper use of kitchen equipment, Ruff said. In the final part of the challenge, the teams will test their cooking skills as they prepare a particular dish. The teams won’t find out what food they’ll have to prepare until the challenge begins.
The high school youth also will be judged on their creativity, Ruff said. They’re allowed to use their own “secret ingredients” in their food preparation challenge.
The College of Human Sciences and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will provide $500 Iowa State scholarships to members of the winning senior team, Ruff added. Prizes for the junior and intermediate levels are still being determined.
The challenge is open to youth who are not 4-H members, but at least one member of each team must be enrolled in 4-H through their ISU Extension county office. Youth may apply in three-member teams or individually; individual applicants selected for the challenge will then be grouped into teams.
Cook This! received an ISU Extension Excellence in Extension grant, Ruff said. “We’re also thankful to the Iowa Turkey Federation, Burke Corporation and Tone’s Spices for sponsoring this event.”
Ruff said she’s seeking additional sponsors and in-kind donations for Cook This!, as well as volunteers to help with planning, coordination and team mentoring. Volunteers may apply online at www.extension.iastate.edu/4h/statefair/cookthis.
The following teams already have been selected for Cook This! (Some youth have named their teams.)
• Mayors of Yummville: Rebecca Osthus, Mariah Mann and Yasmina Abusharkh, Polk County
• Twin Sisters: Clare and Fran Conley, Cherokee County
• Hannah McCoy and Claire Birchmier, Warren County; and Bailey Oliva, Marion County
• Christine Rost, Freemont County; Amanda Riley, Madison County; and Alek (AJ) Gill, Polk County
• Biffles: Montana Watkins, Samantha Keuter and Allie Christisen, Scott County
• Cookin’ Thyme: Rachel Haugland and Eleya Raim, Johnson County; and Kenton Reece, Boone County
• The Crafty Cookers: Carli Strathman and Madison and Brooke Lapke, Jackson County
• Jayme and Katie Sickerson and Jordan Lehman, Polk County
• Elizabeth Carsten, Clinton County; Kacey Reynolds, Madison County; and Jacob Clark, Calhoun County
• Carrie Adrian, Rachel Morgan and Jocelyn Beaver, Marion County
• Adrian Twins: Jennifer and Kathy Adrian, Marion County
• Culinary Delights: Dena Bassett, Jessica Bauer and Jamie Van Syoc, Dallas County
• Nosotros Cocinamos: Leah Reeve, Madi Chicoine and Logan Olson, Polk County
About the Iowa 4-H Youth Development Program
4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization, serving more than 6 million young people across America with programs in leadership, citizenship, communication and life skills. One in five Iowa school-age youth participates in 4-H. In Iowa, 4-H Youth Development is headquartered at the Iowa State University campus in Ames. 4-H is supported by federal, state and county funding, private grants and donations, and fees. For more information about joining 4-H, contact your Iowa State University Extension county office at www.extension.iastate.edu/content/county-offices/ or visit www.extension.iastate.edu/4H.
Laura Sternweis, Extension Communications and External Relations, 515-294-0775,